28 Days Later…(2002) Directed by Danny Boyle. With Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson and Christopher Eccleston.
Ten-years later, and Danny Boyle’s lo-fi post-apocalyptic horror plays as a mixed-bag of success’ and failures. Shot on digital video, the film has a raw quality that compliments the gritty tone stated strongly from the offset. Almost creating a zombie sub-genre of its own, 28 Days tips-its-cap to George Romero (a shopping scene) and most strikingly – Day Of The Triffids.
It’s simple stuff. A virus breaks out that’s transmitted via blood and saliva which causes its hosts to become blood-curdling zombies on speed. We see the world through the eyes of Jim (Cillian Muprhy), who after having recently awoken from a coma, stumbles across an iconic London landscape, bereft of human life. If there’s a money shot, then this is it; a haunting sight that sets the film off with some strikingly memorable imagery.
Like any film akin to the zombie genre, what follows is a tale of survival against everything and everyone. 28 Days Later is at its best when exploring the world left behind, but sadly falls short on character development. Brendan Gleeson’s likeable warmth is welcome, but Naomie Harris and Cillian Murphy aren’t able to muster much – while Megan Burns playing the teenage child of the group is career-endingly awful. Perhaps most disappointing is the third act which starts promisingly, but becomes formulaic and feels rushed and tacked on. Attempts to develop a love story between Jim and Seline (Harris) fall flat and in the end, there is a feeling that style has marginally overpowered substance. 3/5