Violent images of beatings and riots flood the screen. Apes scream with rage, while a team of animal rights activists infiltrate the laboratories to free the caged animals. A doctor pleads with them to leave the apes alone; the animals are infected by something in their blood, which induces violence within seconds.
These are the opening images of 28 Days Later.
The director of Trainspotting and The Beach, Danny Boyle, puts a new spin on the zombie horror flick.
The gore is still there, but, after a while, the zombies look tame compared to the remaining humans fighting for survival.
After the infection is released into the general population, viewers are shown a naked man in a hospital named Jim (Cillian Murphy).
He has been in a coma for the past twenty-eight days. He wanders the halls of the hospital and the streets of England, but he is alone.
Exhausted, Jim stumbles into a church and comes across a pile of corpses in the sanctuary. He realizes something is wrong when a crazed priest attacks him.
After many battles with the zombies and casualties along the way, Jim and a fellow non-infectee, Selena (Naomie Harris), find a healthy father and daughter, Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns) holed up in a London flat.
The four set out to find the source of a radio transmission promising a cure for the rapidly spreading virus.
Eventually, they meet up with a gaggle of the uninfected and take refuge in a compound, but things are not as they seem.
From then on it’s human versus human.
Jim represents a man driven to his most basic instinct — survival. He learns that it comes down to kill or be killed, and all rules are off.
28 Days Later is a lesson in more than just killing. It explores human instincts and poses questions about how little humans realize about themselves, and how insignificant they really are in the overall picture.
The cinematography is excellent. Boyle transitioned from scene to scene with an unconventional style usually reserved for art-house flicks.
The actors were very genuine, and it was refreshing to see “unknowns” on the screen.
However, for a movie with lots of blood and guts, there was very little heart.