The Brilliance and Fear of “28 Days Later”

“28 Days Later,” Danny Boyle’s recent film about a world where an out-of-control virus rages through England, is one of the most affecting movies I’ve seen in quite a while. Closely linked with the zombie classic Night of the Living Dead, and with homage to the apocalyptic landscapes of Terminator, Mad Max, and A.I., as well as the abrupt realism of Blair Witch Project, 28 Days is the story of a world where “the infected” come after the few who still live.
The movie is shot entirely in digital video( I looked that up just now) and is wonderfully styled, with heartbreakingly beautiful shots of a rainy London and English countryside contrasting with the bloody horror of the plot.
The recent New York Times review that called the film “arresting” and “beautiful” made me want to see it, but nothing prepared me for the immense wave of feelings the film unleashed. The plot points of the story manage to connect themselves to much loftier questions about human nature, rage & aggression, our political and economic system, sadness, loss, and death.
What makes this film special, however, is how much it makes you care about the characters–and how scary it is to care, since they’re in pretty-much constant danger. There were moments when I could barely stand to look at the screen, I was so afraid of what might happen.
The movie takes an upturn in the last third which made it easier to watch; rather than just waiting for everyone to be killed off, I actually started to consider that they might find a way to survive.
Susan’s 2 cents: Great flick, instant classic, will be big seller on video after current run is over.
Good article in the Oregonian here.
More stories here.
P.S.> Turns out the flick was named Best British Film of 2002.
New: Photos taken on set by a fan.