28 Days Later (2002)

28-DAYS-LATER

28 Days later is the British zombie film to end all British zombie films. No fan can be a true zombie film buff without having 28 Days Later as part of their collection (granted I don’t currently know where my copy is, but still…)

The film is based around the premise of a zombie epidemic in Britain, centring on Jim, a young 20 something hospital patient who wakes up from a coma to discover the world has ended around him. Jim wakes to discover the hospital is abandoned, and with no clue as to what is going on he wanders into the centre of London to look for help.

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Now if we were being realistic here then the film would be very short. 28 days in a coma without anyone to change your drip or catheter or anything would have left Jim dead, but let’s pretend for a minute, as the film does, that Jim has miraculously survived in the hospital alone. Jim wakes and wanders around an inexplicably deserted London. Where is the rest of the population? Assuming the infection has spread throughout the populous (as it appears), what has happened to the millions of infected London denizens? What would actually have happened is Jim would have exited his hospital ward and been instantaneously set upon by a horde of ravenous zombies, or at least attacked on leaving the hospital. London is bursting at the seams at the best of times, there is no way all the zombies would stay hidden for so long and an incredibly weak, newly woken, oblivious Jim should have had his brains very rapidly nommed.

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Anyway, Jim stays alive. He wanders around London and is eventually beset by a small horde of zombies in a church. Running for his life he is rescued narrowly by a woman named Selena and a chap called Mark. They fill in Jim as to what has been happening. We find out that Animal Liberation activists broke into a secure lab facility and released some chimps that were infected with the ‘Rage’ virus, which does pretty much what it says on the tin. The virus got out and infected the rest of Britain, with one drop of infected blood being enough to instantaneously turn someone into a rage-filled, flesh-ripping horror. This sets the scene for the rest of the film. We also meet Frank and his daughter Hannah and our characters are beset by the horrors of trying to stay alive when the rest of the British population wants to eat their brains.

This film is a classic. I don’t think even Paul could complain that this film isn’t good. The soundtrack (especially during a scene towards the end – you know the one! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST2H8FWDvEA ) is phenomenally good and offsets the spectacular grit of 28 Days perfectly.  One of the strengths of the film is its ability to highlight the dangers and problems someone in the situation of our main characters might face: not only do they have to fight off hordes of un-dead, but they must also face the problems of food shortages, health issues and the threat posed by other remaining humans (something which becomes possibly the greatest issues towards the end of the film) We also see them tenuously developing friendships and relationships, forming dependencies and alliances in order to survive the unfolding horror. A* film! Liz x

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