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28 Days Later...


My first zombie review! I really hope you all like it!

Iím a huge fan of the zombie sub-genre. One of my favourite shows on TV is The Walking Dead but being British, I always wanted to find something zombie related that uses Britain as the central point for its setting. I even remember when there was speculation that Fear the Walking Dead could potentially be set somewhere in the UK, but that never came to fruition, yet Danny Boyleís 28 Days Later meant that I didnít dwell on that fact for too long.

The plot focuses on an ordinary man named Jim (Cillian Murphy) who awakes from a coma 28 days after the initial outbreak of the highly contagious rage disease that has caused a total societal collapse and zombie infestation throughout the British isles. Upon meeting Selena (Naomie Harris) and eventually Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his teenage daughter, Hannah (Megan Burns) they soon find that the monsters outside arenít the most deadly thing threatening their existence.

Positives

There are many of these, but perhaps the highlight of the film was the writing. Every single action, decision, interaction etc. felt totally real, nothing anyone ever did was beyond normal capabilities or rationality. The militaryís actions and intentions of raping young female survivors to re-populate the country was a sickening thought, yet, the film showed us why they thought this was the only possible solution, and when desperate times call for desperate measures, well we would never ever condone it, but, we could vaguely understand their rationale and reasoning behind their beliefs, something that many writers have either failed to do or avoided altogether, in regards to their villains motivations. In fact, the film manages to reflect humanity almost perfectly, none of the characters are pristine and prime examples of humans that we should all aspire to be like, they all contained weaknesses and they all did or said things that were rather rude or nasty, yet for the majority of the time, they were characters who appreciated and cared for one another. In other words, they felt real, they really did feel like people you would meet in everyday life.

Another probable temptation that the film avoided was its avoidance of becoming an overly patriotic, propaganda, look-how-great (no pun intended)-Britain-is kind of film, which films like 2012 took the fatal mistake of choosing (except in that case, itís pro-America, in literally every aspect) and it would have been easy to have made the British military look infallible and nothing but heroic and fantastic, yet they didnít, and instead they used them as a kind of tool to explore humanity and morality within extreme circumstances, and due to the authenticity of the entire film, this has got to be the pinnacle of exploring our societies within the zombie sub-genre.

The zombies themselves were absolutely terrifying in this film, and due to their unbelievable stamina and endurance, it remains believable that the entire country collapsed in such a short amount of time, and when you compare this to The Walking Dead where they move less than 1 mile per hour and we are still expected to believe that the worldís most gifted and talented military and their equipment couldnít handle them, it only, again, emphasises the accuracy and authenticity of the overall film.

Nevertheless, their ability to frighten largely falls under the responsibility of Danny Boyle, who delivers a magnificent direction. He manages to maintain a creepy and tense atmosphere throughout, regardless of whether the sequence is full of action, or silent and still. And having been to London in the summer of 2012, seeing the city completely derelict and dead has to be one of the most weird and bizarre viewing experiences Iíve ever experienced. However, this may have been lost on non-Brits perhaps?

I also really enjoyed the soundtrack, Iím not sure if itís original, because Iíve heard it in numerous adverts and other things since, but either way, it worked in this film. It reflects the terror and anxiety of the characters and the circumstances that confront them, every touch of sound was perfect for the scenes it was paired with and it added a more poignant layer to the film in places too.

Negatives

Despite the strong cast, especially when you look at it retrospectively, the cast didnít deliver amazing performances. I still did enjoy their performances donít get me wrong, but all of the actors have done much better work, so it was a tiny let down. It was also quite hard to believe that Jim and Selena fell for each other too, because they just didnít have that much of a chemistry at all. Additionally, Megan Burns couldnít act to save her life, and she stuck out like a sore thumb alongside her experienced and more talented peers. I donít understand Boyleís decision in insisting she was cast sadly.

Also, some of the dialogue was a bit boring at times and it slowed down the pace a little. Again though, this isnít a major criticism whatsoever. Also, another thing I just simply cannot make my mind up over, is the grainy, sort of cheap look to the film, that makes it look somewhat like a documentary. Children of Men took a similar, but different approach to this, and it worked excellently, but Boyle took more of a risk for the style of this will definitely be off-putting to more casual film-goers. However, this is again down to personal preferences, I wasnít so much a fan of the look, but other people and critics praised it, so this aspect is perceived differently to every individual.

Conclusion

One of the greatest zombie films of the millennium without a doubt, with amazing direction and writing, that produced situations and characters that, frighteningly, arenít too far removed from reality. The action sequences are excellent, and even in more calmer scenes, there is still a sense of dread in the background. However, the acting could have been slightly better, and some of the scenes may only appeal to the Brits (maybe). So Iíll give this film