Sunday, October 22, 2006

28 Days Later Review

The last film I checked out in my little zombie marathon was 28 Days Later. I heard a lot of praise for this film when it hit theatres, however after watching it I'm left scratching my head as to what all the fuss was about. That's not to say that 28 Days Later was bad, but you really don't miss anything if you don't bother with it.

Heralded as a masterful re-invention of the zombie genre, 28 Days Later begins with a small group of animal rights activists attempting to free imprisoned monkeys from a research facility where they're being experimented on. Unfortunately the monkeys are infected and one of them attacks one of the activists, spreading its disease of "pure rage" to her.

Cut to 28 days later and Jim, the film's main character, awakens from a coma in a deserted hospital. As he begins exploring the streets of London, England, everything seems deserted until he stumbles upon a group of infected. Luckily he meets up with a few other survivors who save his life.

Now, generally speaking, zombies are the living dead; it's kind of a contract stipulation. However in 28 Days Later, the "zombies" are infected people that essentially act like zombies: insanely aggressive, cannibalistic, and single-minded. Thus enters the plot holes. The concept of a disease that spreads quickly through blood and saliva and turns people into savage predators is actually quite a great one, however I find the film executes the concept rather poorly.

Basically the disease is pure rage. Great. Now, let's say for sake of argument that I buy the concept of scientists being able to invent "pure rage" and that it can infect someone by simply getting a single drop of infected blood into their system. If an infected person is so insanely angry that all they do is rend, destroy, and eat any living being near them, then why aren't the infected ripping into each other? No, really? Zombies don't attack one another because they're all dead and they want to devour the living, but based on how the pure rage in 28 Days Later is described, how it affects a person, the infected should be killing one another as much as they do regular folk.

Another gripe with the film is that it really isn't scary at all. I mean, if this is supposed to be an amazing re-invention, then shouldn't I be going through a box of Depends just watching it? Ultimately Jim, and a few other survivors find some soldiers who are trying to start civilization over, and I honestly found those same soldier significantly more frightening than the infected.

Anyway, the character interaction between the main survivors, Jim, Selena, Hannah, and Frank is quite believable. They all hope, fear, despair, and rejoice as different events happen, but you can really see those same qualities in the characters of any decent zombie flick. Also, most films are shot with, well, film, however 28 Days Later was shot all on DV. While this does help provide a more "home video" and "regular joe" look to the film, it ultimately comes off looking cheap as the film quality itself just looks bland and poor.

Overall, go rent 28 Days Later if you want to kill a few hours with an interesting concept film, but don't cry if you pass this one up.

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