Ian Frazier ’15
Just A Snippet of Frazier’s Top 100.
28 Days Later is truly a reimagining of the zombie genre that successfully blends frightening images and intelligent dialogue. Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) begins his post-apocalyptic, political allegory by exploring the origins of the rage virus that caused ordinary Londoners to transform into erratic flesh eaters. Twenty-eight days after the virus’ release, Jim, played by Cillian Murphy (Inception), awakes from a coma to find London deserted. Jim eventually takes refuge with three other survivors, thus beginning the quest for survival.
Collectively, 28 Days Later is anything but a generic zombie flick with jump scares and doomed, dull characters. Instead, the film focuses on human nature, and questions if the elimination of the human race is “a return to normality.” The film is riveting and thought provoking, which is rare for a picture classified as “horror.” The most captivating segments start with Danny Boyle’s direction and the overall cinematography, which are most evident during the extraordinary long shots of an empty London. Additionally, the score, composed by John Murphy, is well suited for the film, especially for the climax, where it is both suspenseful and terrifying.
As for the performances, the few actors that play humans aid the film with solid portrayals of their characters, starting with Cillian Murphy. Murphy, a generally unknown actor at the time of the picture’s release, brings humanity to a film that strives to have none. One of the flaws of the film is that the zombies are not easily seen. Whenever these fast-moving infected are on the screen, the camera is constantly shaking, making it impossible to visualize the consequences of the outbreak. However, the camera’s shaking does not detract from the overall experience of the film because the primary focus is the human characters. The ensemble cast, which includes Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson, also performs well. However, the most memorable of the supporting actors is Christopher Eccleston as Major Henry West. Eccleston has the tortured mindset of a man who is desperate and corrupt, perfectly counterbalancing Murphy’s role.
Overall, 28 Days Later derives its strengths from the human elements of the narrative, the performances, the direction, and a brilliant final scene that closes this exhilarating film.
Year Released: 2003
Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Brendan Gleeson
Best performance: Cillian Murphy
Most memorable scene(s): The long, empty shots of London
Most memorable quote: “People killing people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and as far back as I care to remember. People killing people.”
28 Days Later ranks 24th in Ian Frazier’s Top 100 Movie List.