Cillian Murphy as Jim
Naomie Harris as Selena
Brendan Gleeson as Frank
Megan Burns as Hannah
By The Zombie Master, Lee Roberts
“Hey Lee, 28 Days Later is this new zombie film you have got to see”, were the words that a friend of mine used to get me into the theater to watch this British addition to the zombie genre. I walked out confused and let down.
Does my friend not know what a zombie is? And more importantly, if someone were to run into a zombie and this film was the only reference that they had, could a family member sue the film makers for spreading false information?
I was later given the DVD of 28 Days Later as a gift by another friend who knew that I liked zombie movies. My cries of “This is not a zombie movie” again fell on deaf ears.
A year later, going through my DVD collection, I ran across the film again. It was unopened, and I decided to watch it again. Had I not, I would have missed out on a very good, not a zombie, movie.
28 Days Later begins with a group of animal rights activists breaking into an animal testing facility to free their primate cousins from experimentation. They fail to take heed when a scientist warns them that the primates are infected with a virus named “rage”.
The female activist wants to pat, hold, and cuddle a cute monkey so she opens the cage – and gets bitten by the same cute monkey. After about 12 seconds, she becomes infected with the virus and goes absolutely ape (I know, bad pun.) but does not become a zombie.
28 Days Later is not, you see, just a catchy title. Our hero, Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma to find that he is alone, very alone, freakishly alone. After wandering around a very deserted London, Jim walks into a church to find a large amount of bodies just lying around the pews. He makes the mistake of saying “Hello” and finds himself being chased by some rather vicious folks – but not zombies.
Jim is saved by Selena (Naomie Harris) and company and is later joined by Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) as they travel to Manchester in search of survivors, and a supposed cure for the virus. Once there however, their troubles are just beginning.
Without giving too much of the action away, writer and director Alex Garland and Danny Boyle have given us a very compelling film that should make us think about the dangers of biohazards that could be released and spread in today’s socio-political climate. It should not, however, make us think about zombies.
This is a great film about a blood-borne virus that has horrifying psychological and physical side effects. It is about the human will to survive at all costs. It is about what each and every one of us could become if we were to leave our rage unchecked. In case you may not have been paying attention, though, it is not about zombies.