When I first saw 28 Days Later it was on DVD and for the most part I was just looking for a decent zombie thriller. It was one of those DVD’s that claimed it was the scariest movie of the year and would make you jump out of your seat in terror. Before I even get started, this movie most likely won’t make you jump out of your seat, it really won’t. There are a couple startling scenes where something pops out but they are very few. But, that’s not what this movie is about, it’s not the horror movie that will make you jump and scream in your seats but it is still a worthwhile movie in general. Let’s jump right in shall we?

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28 Days Later was directed by Danny Boyle, the same director who would later go on to direct the highly acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire.

At the outset of the film we are in what looks to be some kind of dark lab filled with cages, a group of people storms the facility and corners a lone scientist. The people who stormed the facility wanted to let the animals, in this case chimpanzees, be released. The scientist pleads with them not to as he says the animals are infected with “Rage”, do they listen? Of course not. As one of the females opens the cage a chimp storms out of the cage and attacks her causing her to convulse and puke blood. The story picks up again 28 days later in a hospital room where a patient named Jim is waking up from a coma. He quickly realizes that there is no one in the hospital and no one in the entire city, there are flyers scattered around talking about an infection and a board filled with missing person flyers. Upon entering a church and seeing the main room filled with bodies Jim shouts, “Hello!?” two of the bodies get up with a vicious look in their blood red eyes and a lone priest fumbles through the door in front of him. Jim tries to greet the priest but the priest just fumbles forward twitching and making a gurgling sound. Jim stands there in shock, all he has is a bag of sodas he found in the hospital. As the priest fumbles closer Jim instinctively smashes the priest in the face with it. Jim regrets doing it at first but when he sees the bloodshot eyed people running after him he takes off. What ensues is the story of how Jim manages to survive in a world that is plagued by the “Infected” who devour the living. I won’t spoil the story for you so that’s as far into the main story as I’ll get.

One of the great things about this movie is its musical score. The musical score was composed by John Murphy. The finest example I can think of is the very beginning of the movie when Jim first wakes up in the hospital, the scene we touched on earlier. When Jim first wakes up there is no soundtrack, there’s just no sound at all. As Jim moves out of the hospital there is still little sound, there is the light sound of a guitar being plucked as heads outside the hospital, when he is walking through the empty streets a set of drums start to beat in, the pace of the instruments start to quicken and create a panicked sound, and when Jim finally reaches the board with all the missing people the pace is frantic, quick, and heavy. Jim never says a word and through just the music you can feel the emotions he feels. There’s just an empty confusion when he wakes up and as he slowly starts to put together what has happened…you can feel his panic and feel his confusion. It’s a powerful opening sequence that is a fine example of the perfect music for the scene.

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The acting is also quite good considering at the time these were all relatively unknown actors. Jim is played by Cillian Murphy who would later go on to star in movies such as Batman Begins, as the Scarecrow, and Red Eye as the psychotic killer Jackson Rippner. There’s just something about the way he carries himself that is believable, the way he genuinely looked like he has been struck by the fear of God. I really don’t want to talk about the rest of the cast because I believe a good movie review shouldn’t spoil what happens in the movie by explaining everyone who is in it and all their intricacies, it should make you want to go and see the movie for yourself. But, the acting is very well done and the only two really recognizable faces are Christopher Eccleston and Brendan Gleeson.

When 28 Days Later first came out it was an amazing success in the UK and grossed almost $12 million US, that’s about six or seven million pounds converted. In the US it surprisingly grossed $45 Million dollars while only being shown at less than 1,500 theaters across the US. Worldwide 28 Days Later brought in $82 Million dollars.

So, when it comes to 28 Days Later don’t go in expecting a movie that will make you jump and squeal at every turn because it’s just not that kind of a movie. It’s more of a chilling movie that will sit with you long after you’ve finished watching it. Considering that at the time the actors were mostly unknown they do a fantastic job of conveying their emotions and coming across as genuinely fearful for their life when the situation calls for it. One thing, however, there is a bit of gore at times so you’d probably do best not to watch this with the kiddies, I’m not sure why you’d consider it anyway, but to each their own.

So, what shall we give 28 Days Later?

I’ll give it 4 OH SHIT THAT FUCKER IS LOOSEs out of 5. (I’ve been giving a lot of 4’s lately…)

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