28 Days Later (Danny Boyle, 2002): UK
Reviewed by Joel Pedersen. Viewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival.
28 Days Later is a horror film with a hauntingly soft soundtrack. It dwells on a future “what-if” scenario where a massive virus spreads like wildfire infecting people across England, and demonstrates what fear can do to tear a society down.
Fear can cause humans to turn on each other and leave their traditions and values by the wayside. However, in this film it is this very attitude–of selfish actions motivated by fear–that acccelerates the world’s sitution turn from bad to worse.
The film begins like a nightmare. One where you wake all alone completely naked…in a hospital (which mind you is probably the scariest setting even in the day) and there is no one to be found. Jim (Cillian Murphy) has no luck finding anyone. The film has some great shots of Jim trekking thought some really well known spots in England, yelling “hello” at the top of his lungs but with no response. This is most poignantly and painfully demonstrated by a graphic scene where the main character enters a church. A church is really nothing more than a building, but it has been honored by people who preserve that area as socially- sanctioned sacred space. Here in this place that should be a haven for people from the outside world, a place where sick and weak people can turn for comfort, the main character finds people, sick people, beaten to death and strewn across the floor.
Finally after running from the infected for a good amount of time, he finds help. Selena (Noamie Harris) and her friend Mark come to his rescue. They explain to Jim what has happened and the tragedies that have occurred while he was unconscious. Not knowing what to think or believe, he leads them to his parents’ house. He soon wishes that he had never woken up.
I am uncertain that I can reccomend this film and I say that not merely due to its graphic nature. However this is probably due to my own fear of scary movies. 28 Days Later is a great example of Danny Boyle’s directing style. It also left me with a lot of food for thought in a very Lord of the Flies type manner.