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28 Days Later

28 Days Later

What she said:

She

So, May 21, 2011, didn’t turn out to be our day of reckoning.  We bought our non-perishable cans of pork and beans, sealed ourselves in our homes, and waited….and waited.  In a tribute to the crazy guy who predicted the end, we decided to watch the thriller classic, 28 Days Later, the movie that put Cillian Murphy on the map. 

Murphy plays Jim, a bike courier who wakes up from a coma in the hospital, 28 days after the outbreak of a “rage” infection.  The place is ransacked and empty.  He wanders around the city completely unaware of what is going on, searching for any signs of life.  That is when he first encounters the zombie-like people infected with rage.  Here are the basics of rage: it makes you nuts, you want to eat other people, your eyes get all red looking, and you vomit blood.  Transmission can happen by being bit or scratched by an infected, or by coming in contact with their blood through an open wound or mucus membrane, like the inside of the mouth or the eye.  It’s pretty darn gross.

In a fight for his life, Jim happens upon a couple of other remaining humans (there really don’t appear to be many left).  The movie follows their journey as they team up and search for a place where rage have not yet reached.  The question is, does that place exist, and are the remaining humans more dangerous than the infected.

This film is classic Danny Boyle.  It seems Boyle loves camera shots of people running around.  Several moments in this movie make me think of Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire.  He’s also a master of unique cinematography.  28 Days Later uses some brilliant camera framing without making it feel forced, like in 127 Hours.  The movie is a great thriller, but it’s also very psychological.  It makes you reflect on human nature, particularly as it pertains to those in danger or facing death.  People will do some pretty bad things.  The question is whether or not these acts become morally acceptable in a world in complete chaos. 

Beware, the movie is for adults only.  But it’s also quite entertaining.

Thumbs up.

What he said:

He

The world may not have ended this past weekend, but we were still in the mood for a good, old-fashioned apocalypse, so we decided to revisit this gripping horror movie.

Talk about a dark, gritty, and amazingly realistic film, WOW! I mean, when you consider that the movie is about flesh-eating people, it is surprisingly believable. The Walking Dead (the TV show, the comic is actually very good) wishes it was this good. It seems like a pale imitation of the genre compared to 28 Days Later.

Danny Boyle’s version of a zombie movie came out of nowhere and made “zombies” (his creatures aren’t technically zombies, but I have no time for nerdy arguments over semantics) cool again. This movie is the reason zombies have resurfaced in pop culture once again.

It is also responsible for kick-starting Cillian Murphy’s career.  

Horror can come in all shapes and sizes. The genre can range anywhere from comedy to social commentary. 28 Days Later is more towards the latter. It is one of those movies that examines who people are and what they are made up of. It takes a very hard, realistic look at how people react to unspeakable circumstances; and that isn’t always pretty. What I really love about this approach is the sense of balance it brings. It is a great way to tell a story.

This movie does not hide the fact that we can be an ugly species. Right from the get-go it is pretty raw. Take the opening scene for example. A group of well-intentioned animal activists unknowingly release an infected chimpanzee, which eventually leads to the outbreak. Seeing what those scientists were doing to that animal all for the sake of “science” made me angry. It confirmed things the cynic in my already believed about humanity and also really bothered me as an animal lover.

But throughout the film there are tiny glimmers of hope here and there. There are certainly some “good ones” scattered amongst the masses. 28 Days Later makes sure it communicates that message very clearly.

If you are in the mood – and have the stomach for – a powerful, gritty, drama set in the backdrop of a horror movie, then I highly recommend this movie.

Rating: Thumbs up

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 23, 2011.