Pop Junk’s 31 Days of Halloween #14: 28 Days Later

 

Sometimes you have to take a moment and reflect on success and that’s what I’ll be doing with today’s pick.  It’s no secret that even the most popular horror movie is usually a commercial or critical failure so it’s rare when a horror movie is the total package of successful in the theater, popular among critics and actually pretty friggin scary; I give Danny Boyle’s 2002 film 28 Days Later.

An Animal liberation group storms a lab during open the film and despite warnings from scientists release a monkey that is inflected with what is known as “Rage.” a virus that turns its victims into a red-eyed, crazed, blood thirsty killer.  Much in the vein of any zombie movie except those inflected don’t lumber around hungering for flesh, these ones fly around with speed and strength making them extra terrifying. An infected chimp attacks a female activist and immediately infects her, and she in turn infects the other members of the group, including the chief scientist when he attempts to kill her.

That sets up what’s to come as we pick up “28 Days Later” and England has been wiped out by the virus.  This is conveyed to the audience as we see a bicycle courier named Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakens from a coma in a deserted Hospital. As he leaves, he discovers London deserted with signs of catastrophe everywhere from the unleashing of the Rage virus upon its populous.  The opening shot of Jim walking around the desolate ruins of London is really spectacular.  The film makers had to empty out sections of town for literally minutes at a time and shoot on a digital camera and it looks amazing.    Jim eventually finds survivors as they travel through England looking for help and a possible cure while being chased by the rabid zombie population.

This movie is rich with George A Romero Dead trilogy influences but enough new elements to make it a very original take on the zombie movie.  The running zombies were a topic of discussion but if for any movie it’s really works in this one because it’s not a traditional zombie flick but more of a postapocalyptic virus movie that turns people into blood thirsty maniacs. Watching the main characters run for their lives while being chased by the inflected through a desolate and run down London England is pretty frightening.  This film really works because of the attention it’s given by Danny Boyle and using the zombie/horror back drop to tell a humanist drama and political allegory wrapped up in a terrifying virus/zombie flick.

 

 

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~ by ATOM on October 18, 2011.

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