Yesterday kicked off Zombie weekend here, and let me just tell you, I am over the moon. Zombies have been and always will be one of my most favourite horror creatures.
Title: 28 Days Later
Synopsis: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
Tagline: Be thankful for everything, for soon there will be nothing.
The truth is I can't say enough good things about this movie. Granted, there will be some who meekly raise their hands and tell me this isn't actually a zombie movie. After all, zombies are people who have died and been reanimated. The monsters in 28 Days Later don't actually die, but contract a virus called 'rage' that makes them act like the cannibalistic undead. Now, while I can appreciate that outlook, I don't feel the same way.
If it acts like a zombie and looks like a zombie. It's a zombie.
That being said, I would actually suggest categorizing this as a virus/outbreak movie, as opposed to a zombie flick for one simple reason. People think zombie and they assume it will be cheesy and regurgitate all the stuff we've already seen in other lurching, moaning, flesh-eating movies. This is not the case with Danny Boyle's 2002 masterpiece.
Now, why is this movie so phenomenal?
Well, it contains all the necessary pieces to make a great film. Believability. Anyone who existed ten years ago remembers when the swine flu was taking the world by storm. It was all over the news. People were dying. Everyone was scared. Before the swine flue was the plague. Black death. It happened. And it could happen again. In fact, my money is on a virus wiping most of us out one day. Besides, have you seen how many people don't wash their hands or cover their mouths when they sneeze? Disturbing.
28 Days Later also touts sympathetic characters. You can't help but like Cillian Murphy's character. Not only is he undeniably attractive with those pale baby blues, but his fear is palpable. You can feel it. He doesn't do stupid things because he is afraid. He's sensitive and lost, certainly not the stuff most heroes are made from. All his moves are authentic, he does things we all would do if we woke up in the hospital and suddenly found the world taken over by mobs of very angry people. Kind of like Vancouver when the Canucks crap the bed during play-offs and the citizens burn their own city down. Bravo.
And maybe that's the whole point. The parallel between real life and the virus induced state isn't too far away from one another, is it? People seem to be so very agitated so often in lift and, towards the end of the film, you really get the sense that Danny Boyle is skewing the line in who is the 'monster' and who isn't. In the end, this truly does explore human nature, and maybe that's why it is one of those flicks that sticks with you after the fact.
Unlike a lot of horror movies, this one doesn't let up. From the very beginning straight through to the end it is a blood spraying riot of violence and tension. But it isn't in your face gore, it isn't overwhelming, and it isn't trying to be the grossest movie of the decade. Each scene shows you a snippet into the characters and their development, creating this perfect arc that you can see over the entire film, kind of like a rainbow.
The writers did a fantastic job with plotting out and executing this storyline. Like I said, I can't say enough good things. Watch it for entertainment or because it is subtly layered and beautifully executed. This is just another example that great movies can be done on small budgets. I am beginning to think Danny Boyle is untouchable.