Stuff I Watch in October: 28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
They Live (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Predator 2 (1990)
The Addams Family (1991)
Alien 3 (1992)
Army of Darkness (1992)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Crow (1994)
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Scream (1996)
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Scream 2 (1997)
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
What Lies Beneath (2000)
Scream 3 (2000)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: 28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later

DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle, director of such classics as Trainspotting, Sunshine, and Shallow Grave. The dude is a god.

WHAT IS IT?: 28 Days Later single-handedly, and cleverly, resurrected the “zombie horror” sub-genre…and we’re still seeing zombie apocalypse films 20 years afterward.

THE PLOT: A month following the escape of a deadly virus which transforms its victims into mindless, homicidal human monsters, a man named Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a local hospital and finds out that London is nearly empty save for a couple survivors who are hopelessly outnumbered by the rage-filled infected.

After joining them, Jim and his new friends meet two more survivors, a man and his daughter who have found a military broadcast offering assistance to survivors. With no other choice left, the group heads outside the city, hoping to find salvation — but what they find may be even more monstrous than the infected population they face.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Critics gave 28 Days Later high marks for not only reanimating the zombie film genre but also for being an intelligent political and sociological allegory.

28 days later

WHAT DID I THINK?: The cast is outstanding with Cillian Murphy (“Red Eye”, Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, “Inception”) playing Jim realistically: confused as hell, fearful, and eventually, hardened but not at the expense of his humanity. Naomie Harris (“Skyfall”, “SPECTRE”) is brilliant as Selena who is tough as nails and Harris portrays her as a real leader who is still human — but is committed to her survival and to protect those around her at all costs.

This was Alex Garland’s first screenplay having had his novel “The Beach” adapted for the screen by writer John Hodge and director Danny Boyle a couple of years prior to this and it’s beyond revolutionary.

Here, Garland not only resurrects the zombie genre, he re-invents it while doing what George Romero did before him: providing brilliant social commentary on society’s penchant for resorting to anger and destruction.

The idea that the “zombies” aren’t undead ghouls and are merely people infected with a virus which makes them angry enough to kill anyone or anything they see (and that they can RUN after their victims rather than lurch about) is brilliant.

Director Danny Boyle who helmed the outstanding “Trainspotting” and the Hitchcockian surprise, “Shallow Grave”, is in fine form here. The creepiness of the premise is helped by Boyle’s decision to shoot portions of the film using a small, high-end digital camera which not only provides more maneuverability, it also provides an artsy, washed-out, “fly on the wall” quality.
Much like Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice”, the digital cinematography gives off a gritty “you are there” feeling to things and makes the film seem realistic, something which really enhances the climax involving the Jim and his fight at the mansion in the rain.

28 Days Later is truly amazing.


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