28 Days Later (2002)
When Mrs Platinum Al and I went on our very first date, this was the film she wanted to see. I’d heard it was good, and being a fan of the Director Danny Boyle’s earlier works (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting) agreed it would be a good choice. What followed was one of the most extreme cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. You’ve heard stories about people walking out of the cinema? I saw that during this screening. Audience members were getting up and leaving. I’m sure that it wasn’t because the film was bad – it was because 28 Days Later is utterly terrifying.
Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in hospital after being in an accident. Slowly he finds that the world he knew has crumbled, as an infectious virus called “Rage” has decimated the population by turning the victims into violent, mindless killers. Jim meets other survivors, and together they begin a journey to find a cure for Rage, and safe refuge from the Infected.
28 Days Later was never billed as a zombie flick originally, at least not as I remember it. Although obviously inspired by zombie movies and other post apocalyptic films, it was promoted as a film exploring what could happen following the outbreak of a pandemic. Scenes of an abandoned London created emotions of despair that were related, in the press, to the aftermath of 9/11. Psychologically, the audience is submitted to a world of sheer desperation that pervades every minute.
As a result, 28 Days Later gives us much more than a zombie re-hash. It has shocks and creates tension in the viewer unlike any other film I have ever seen. But it also asks questions: how far away are any of us, in a world of road rage and social unrest, from mindless uncontrolled violence?
Quite simply a superb film on every level, 28 Days Later horrifies beyond belief.