28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later poster 2002 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great opening scene of an empty London, fast and gritty look, running zombies

Lots of zombie story cliches

Movie Info

Movie Name:  28 Days Later

Studio:  DNA Films

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  November 1, 2002

MPAA Rating:  R

28 days later jim cilllian murphy london abandoned

Where is everybody?

Bike messenger Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up to a horror after being involved in an accident.  The entire city of London seems deserted and there is no explanation.  When Jim discovers that the city isn’t deserted, the nightmare is worse.  A rage virus has broken out and turned everyone in contact with the blood into zombies.  Now, Jim, a woman named Selena (Naomie Harris), a girl named Hannah (Megan Burns), and her father Frank (Brendan Gleeson) are trying to get out of England…but the danger might not only be the zombies.

Directed by Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later (sometimes printed as 28 Days Later…) is a zombie horror survival thriller.  The film was written by Alex Garland and was a critical and box office success.

28 Days Later helped reignite the zombie craze.  While zombies in the eighties were usually just slow, staggering brain-eaters, the zombies of 28 Days Later are fast and want nothing more than to kill.  As a result, the horror and terror of 28 Days Later really explodes.

28 days later tunnel scene cillian murphy brendan gleeson naomie harris

These things really seem to like the dark…let’s risk it with a tunnel!!!

The story does borrow a lot of John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids for the set-up.  The opening sequence with Murphy wandering the streets has the same feel and look (and this was also later borrowed for the beginning of The Walking Dead comic and TV series).  The movie takes a turn once the survivors reach the military in Manchester and “man is the enemy” becomes the theme.  The movie had difficulties deciding the ending, and I’m actually kind of glad they stuck with the positive ending (the other entries are generally found online or as extras).

The cast also commits to the film.  Cillian Murphy became a “star” due to this film and rightfully so.  Scenes like the opening, his killing of the zombie boy, and the ending sequence showed a lot of range.  Naomie Harris also came out of the film and is great as Selena who despite being hard as nails also manages to have a soft side.  Though he had been in many films, Brendan Gleeson has a lot of heart in his role, and his character’s fate is tragic as a result.  Christopher Eccleston also is chilling as the leader of the military out to keep control.

28 days later infected zombie

Visine gets the red out!!!

The movie works due to the visuals.  The opening of the movie alone with a deserted London is eerie (especially if you have been there).  Danny Boyle stylizes the film with very intense edits, and the quick choppy camera movements ratchet up the horror.  The zombies are creepy and their one-track mindset really makes this a scarier movie than many other horror films.

28 Days Later is an original entry in the zombie movies and the movie seemed to lasting effects.  The movie made the zombie movie “scary” again (after the humor of the Return of the Living Dead films) and it also got zombies moving in films like the Dawn of the Dead remake28 Days Later was followed by 28 Weeks Later in 2007 and comic book adaptations that serve as both sequels and prequels to the original films.

Related Links:

28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Days Later:  The Aftermath

28 Days Later 1:  London Calling

28 Days Later 2:  Bend in the Road

28 Days Later 3:  Hot Zone

28 Days Later 4:  Gangwar

28 Days Later 5:  Ghost Town

28 Days Later 6:  Homecoming

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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