You wake up in a hospital, with no recollection of how you got there. The hospital is strangely quiet; no other patients, no staff.
So you get up and take a walk around, only to find that the place has been abandoned.
Going out onto the streets, you see that they are the same. Not a soul to be seen, and the general feeling that something very bad happened while you were unconscious.
Well, that’s just what happens to the main character, Jim (Cillian Murphy) at the beginning of 28 days later.
This cult British shocker has drawn praise from all angles. And its edgy filming and gritty ‘real’ cinematography have been inspirational to plenty of productions since (most notably, E4’s mini series ‘Dead Set’).
However, strictly speaking, the monsters in this film aren’t zombies.
There has been an outbreak of a virus – as an infected monkey is set free (they always blame the monkeys) – which once contracted, creates uncontrollable rage in the infected individual.
This means that the people aren’t dead, but are just really, really angry, and seemingly hungry for human flesh (a common zombie-ism).
But that is one thing which lets this film down a bit for me. If they are so uncrontrollably aggressive and murderous, then why aren’t they attacking each other too? Why only attack the uninfected?
Yeah, you just have a little think about that one…
Would have been easier if they had just used zombies…
The virus is passed on through blood, and as usual, a bite is enough to make you one of them. Just like with zombies really.
Being ‘still alive’ gives them a few advantages over the traditional zombie. Most importantly, they can run very fast, and their co-ordination doesn’t seem to have been affected by the infection. This makes them pretty tough to beat.
This is something that Romero has recently introduced to his own films – fast zombies. And to be honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. However, it does add to the tension, and I guess that it’s hard to decide on what’s realistic and what’s not when you’re making a film about the walking dead.
At times, the acting in 28 days later can be a little weak. Some of the little known English actors struggle to be convincing, and it can get a bit distracting. Fortunately though, there aren’t many periods of extended dialogue, as there are frequent injections of shaky camera work and red-eyed, urm… Rage carriers (why didn’t they just make them zombies?).
There are plenty of tense moments, and plenty of blood, so you’ll be scared to a satisfying extent.
And you’ll soon find yourself taken in by the romance as Jim and his rescuer-turned-love interest, Selena (Naomie Harris) soon makes him see that zombies… I mean Rage carriers, or Ragers (yeah, I prefer that) shouldn’t take your mind off the old S-E-X.
Fortunately, the scarcity of guns in the UK doesn’t stop the fun, as other weapons come in handy, making a mess in the process. And there are always a few rogue soldiers about to provide some fire-power.
Will Jim, Selena and the other survivors that they meet escape to freedom?
Well, you’ll have to watch to find out. I think you’ll feel suitably satisfied with the final outcome.
Oh, and stay away from monkeys.