Six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of Great Britain, the US Army helps to secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But not everything goes according to plan.
Animal activists invade a laboratory with the intention of releasing chimpanzees that are undergoing experimentation, infected by a virus -a virus that causes rage. The naive activists ignore the pleas of a scientist to keep the cages locked, with disastrous results. Twenty-eight days later, our protagonist, Jim, wakes up from a coma, alone, in an abandoned hospital. He begins to seek out anyone else to find London is deserted, apparently without a living soul. After finding a church, which had become inhabited by zombie like humans intent on his demise, he runs for his life. Selena and Mark rescue him from the horde and bring him up to date on the mass carnage and horror as all of London tore itself apart. This is a tale of survival and ultimately, heroics, with nice subtext about mankind's savage nature.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The decision to film on DV (using Canon XL1 cameras) was both an aesthetic and a logistic choice. Aesthetically, Danny Boyle felt that the harshness of the DV imagery suited the post-apocalyptic urban landscape and the grittiness of the film in general. In the production notes, Boyle says "the general idea was to try and shoot as though we were survivors too." Logistically, producer Andrew Macdonald claims that shooting with standard cameras, especially some exterior scenes, would've been impossible. As MacDonald points out in the production notes, "The police and the local authorities were quite happy to assist us because we could set up scenes so quickly. We could literally be ready to shoot with a six-camera set-up within minutes - something we would not realistically have been able to do if shooting under the restrictions of 35mm which takes a good deal more time to set up a single shot." See more »
The blockade is supposed to be situated North East of Manchester. Yet during the scene when Jim escapes back to it, the signs read Blackpool and Fleetwood, and also shows signs for Lancaster and the Lake District. These signs are only seen on the M6, running to the West of Manchester. See more »
[the three animal activists arrive to the laboratory]
[when seeing all of the caged apes]
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Other than the Fox Searchlight logo, there are no opening credits whatsoever. The title of the movie, 28 Days Later, only appears as a descriptive subtitle. See more »
Fox Searchlight attached an alternative downbeat ending to all 1400 US prints of the film, while it was still in U.S. release. The revised ending was the one that appeared in the original script, but the script's ending was ditched in favor of a happy ending after it did not test well. Director Danny Boyle decided "We can't do this to people, because it was such a tough journey anyway." See more »
Perhaps I'm a little biased. After all, this is set in the city I live and work in, and seeing Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus, which I pass by every morning and which are usually teeming with crowds of people, completely empty was enough to send shivers down my spine. Usually when you watch a movie like this it's located in some nondescript Midwestern village, which makes it easy to detach yourself from the events unfolding on screen. But seeing them occur in the place you call home is something that gives it an entirely new sense of reality, and one I was previously unaccustomed to.
Still, judging 28 Days Later entirely on its merit as a film, it's easy to arrive at the conclusion that it's a fantastic achievement, as well as a coming-of-age of sorts for director Danny Boyle; I can't say the MTV-inspired vanity of The Beach, or the self-consciously trendy posturing of Trainspotting appealed to me, and to my shame I initially expected 28 Days Later to be given a similar treatment. Thankfully, my fears proved unfounded, discarded straight after a opening sequence which is at once effortless and fearsome. The rest of the movie was a joy. A terrifying joy, but a joy nonetheless.
It's true that sometimes minimalism can be more effective than overblown bravado, and it's definitely true for this movie. It's the scenes of complete silence which get to you the most; an entire metropolis empty. The grainy picture serves to add a documentary-style quality to the film, which makes the whole situation seem almost too real to bear. Definitely a wise choice to film this on digital video.
You will occasionally meet people who thought 28 Days Later wasn't 'scary' or 'gory' enough. These are the same people who will tell you that 2001 was 'boring', or that Memento was 'confusing'. Ignore them. Others didn't understand the purpose of the second half, or were confused by its change of pace, feeling that it distracted from the movie as a whole. However, I personally regard the second half as very important because, as another reviewer pointed out, it makes a very succinct point: What is scarier, the end of the world, or having the world repopulated by maniacs? That, I think, is where the real Horror of 28 Days Later lies.
28 Days Later, like the Romero zombie flicks of yore, is ultimately an allegory of the days we are living in, an age in which we are constantly confronted with violence by the media (much like the ape right at the start of the film), where violence begets violence, and humanity faces an uncertain future. I applaud Danny Boyle's bravery in making 28 Days Later because he undoubtedly took a big commercial risk when the majority of the cinema-going public might prefer escapism to words of caution. Remember, Rage is a human-made disease. Quite the allegory there.
Like most great masterpieces of their time, 28 Days Later has been misunderstood by a considerable amount of people. I have no doubt it will go down in history as a classic, the one movie which perfectly sums up the confused era we are living in. And even if you didn't like it, it would be advisable to give 28 Days Later another chance; it's a haunting experience when looked at from the right angle. Danny Boyle has many years left in him, I hope he'll continue making more movies like this.
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