Directed by Danny Boyle, 28DaysLater presented a post-apocalyptic London, devastated by swarms of single-minded creatures looking to visit death on anyone they encountered. A critical and commercial smash, 28DaysLater announced the triumphant return of the zombie film to theaters.
Hordes of savage creatures roam the landscape, eager to kill anyone normal. In fact, they're technically still alive, and being dead is kind of a requirement for zombies, The rage virus that's infected most of the population causes the desire to commit horrifically violent acts, and gives the afflicted a somewhat zombie-like appearance, but its victims are most definitely not zombies.
So, all things considered, 28DaysLater accomplishes the odd feat of being a classic zombie movie that actually isn't one. Most recently, Michael helped launch Screen Rant's new horror section, and is now the lead staff writer when it comes to all things frightening.
A FL native, Michael is passionate about pop culture, and earned an AS degree in film production in 2012. When not writing, Michael enjoys going to concerts, taking in live professional wrestling, and debating pop culture.
A long-term member of the Screen Rant family, Michael looks forward to continuing on creating new content for the site for many more years to come. 'Infected' refers to humans who have been infected by the Rage Virus that originated in the Cambridge Primate Research Center.
Highly contagious and spread through bodily fluids such as blood and saliva, the virus takes over an exposed host within ten to twenty seconds. Symptoms include constant spamming, and internal bleeding from all bodily orifices as well as haemoemesis (vomiting infectious blood).
Usually, the Infected exhibits no goal or trace of their former-selves and will not hesitate to attack former loved ones (Donald Harris was a notable exception who experienced fragment memory flashbacks, although it did nothing to curb his aggression and seemingly motivated him further to attack his loved ones). Though Rage does not kill its host directly, lacking the instincts to find food, the Infected do eventually die from starvation.
The onset of Rage during this period is marked by painful, uncontrollable convulsions and spasms in the extremities, bleeding from the eyes, and seemingly a rapidly-building increase in anger in the host (28DaysLater (film), 28 Weeks Later). The Rage Virus causes the Infected to experience near-constant spasms in their extremities, (28DaysLater (film)) and their irises enlarge and become bloodred.
They also regularly, if not constantly, bleed from their bodily orifices (such as their eyes, nose, mouth and hair follicles), and vomit copious amounts of infectious blood; due to internal hemorrhaging of the capillaries (28DaysLater (comic series)). (28 Weeks Later) The Infected are shown to retain some spatial awareness, as they can calculate complex routes to unseen targets.
They have been known to go through doors, windows and entrance points and navigate around other obstacles to reach sources of possible uninfected activity. The Infected prefer to be in shaded to pitch-black areas compared to bright light.
In the direct aftermath of the Original Outbreak, numerousdifferentsurvivors considered it safer to move at day than during night, when Infected were shown to emerge into the open (28DaysLater (film), 28DaysLater (comic series)); the Infected which chased Jim, Hannah, Frank and Selena in an underground tunnel in London did not not follow them into the daylight, and the Infected which attacked the Worse House usually only did so at night. (28DaysLater (film)) Those Infected from the Second Outbreak which survived the Code Red firebombing were shown to retreat into the Underground at dawn.
(28 Weeks Later) When in pursuit, Infected will not act to evade even oncoming mortal danger such as fire, gunshots, chemical gas and sharp weapons. After being infected, Don Harris exhibited unusual levels of intelligence that were usually devoid in the Infected; he apparently had fragment memory flashbacks (if not complete memories) of his family when in their presence, which seemingly motivated him to pursue and attack them.
The Infected are extremely sensitive to light, as the light of one small candle was shown to be sufficient to draw the attention of nearby Infected; (28DaysLater (film)) and the infected Don Harris had little trouble roaming around in the abandoned Underground, whereas Tammy, Andy and Scarlet Levy needed night vision in order to navigate through the darkness. The Infected's aforementioned durability and disregard for harm to themselves makes them difficult to slow down or even disable with means that would usually literally or figuratively cripple a person (such as fire and gunshots).
Rage does not directly cause the death of its host, but because the Infected don't actively seek self-nourishment, they effectively all have a limited lifespan before they weaken and finally die from starvation. (28DaysLater (film), 28 Weeks Later, 28DaysLater (comic series)) While the standard cinematic zombie is often depicted as a slow and clumsy creature, the Infected are very strong and fast-moving, thanks to their adrenaline-enhanced stamina.
Unlike most zombies, the Infected, while losing most of their higher levels of intelligence, are apparently highly attuned to their surroundings; being able to navigate over and around obstacles to otherwise unseen targets. (28 Weeks Later, 28DaysLater : The Aftermath) whereas most other zombies will simply try to approach uninfected individuals from the most direct route, often failing repeatedly.
The Infected in a similar situation will simply run into the building, often destroying doors and windows, and go through the structure to reach the designated target. Add a photo to this gallery Ethan Van Sliver, Green Lantern writer and artist, officially stated in Issue #2 of The Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps that the Red Lanterns, people that wear red power rings, are filled with rage and spew dangerously acidic blood, were inspired by the Infected from the 28 Days Later franchise.
People who are observant will notice that the Infected sometimes go after their former friends or family (now turned enemies). Oddly, there does not appear to be that many animals seen in Britain since the Original Outbreak occurred (though there are still some horses, swans, deer, crows, pigeons, rats and dogs).
It is probable that if an animal was exposed to the Infection, it would be unaffected, as Rage can only use primates as its hosts. The Infected seen in 28 Weeks Later are apparently as active during the day as at night, forcing survivors to take cover in the darkness.
The Infected appear to have a slower metabolism than normal, being able to last for weeks or even months before succumbing to starvation. This could mean that the Rage Virus alters its hosts' metabolism to make them last longer than normal without food or water.
Set in England, during the early 21st century, the story concerns the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a deadly virus known as Rage “, which turns people mindlessly violent, and the struggle of four survivors to come to terms with the ruins of everything they once knew. A critical and commercial success, the film is widely recognized for its images of an entirely deserted London, and was shot almost entirely on digital video.
The film opens with the initial outbreak of the Rage virus, caused when an infected chimpanzee bites an animal rights activist attempting to free it from a laboratory. Twenty-eight days later, Jim, a bicycle courier, wakes up from a coma in a strangely deserted hospital.
Leaving the hospital, Jim discovers that all of London seems likewise deserted; the streets are empty and filled with signs of catastrophe. Taking refuge in a church, Jim is chased by the Infected and rescued by two survivors, Selena and Mark, who rush him to their hideout in a section of the London Underground.
Jim learns that while he was comatose, the virus spread uncontrollably among the people, turning them into vicious and mindless monsters, referred to as “infected”, and finally collapsing society, possibly on a global scale. After spending the night at Frank's flat it becomes apparent that the few uninfected people will not survive for long, given that their supplies- particularly their water- are dwindling and London is suffering a drought.
Frank later picks up a pre-recorded radio broadcast made by a group of soldiers who have set up a blockade near Manchester and claim to have “the answer to Infection”. Jim tries to escape with Selena and Hannah but is subdued and led out into a forest to be killed.
At the same time, the Infected show many zombie characteristics: a bite-transmitted condition that results in the affected individual's loss of personality, decrease in cognitive function (e.g. problems with conventional door operation), aggressive pursuit of the uninfected, and the urge to spread the condition further all form part of the classic zombie film trope. George Romero's 1973 film The Crazies dealt with a small town whose citizens were sent into homicidal rage by a highly infectious, government-created pathogen.
Selena and Hannah rush Jim to a local hospital in a futile attempt to save his life. It was ultimately rejected for being too bleak, and also because test audiences misinterpreted the ending's intended mood.
Garland and Boyle meant to Selena and Hannah's exit from the hospital to imply survival, whereas audiences felt that the women were walking into certain death. An unpolished alternate ending is included on the DVD, which is very similar to the original coda scene of potential rescue from the air.
In a radical turn, Jim, Selena, and Hannah take Frank to a local research complex, where the virus was developed. Their goal is to attempt to find the cure for the virus, which the radio broadcast had suggested was nearby.
A short time after arriving at the research complex, Jim and Selena discover a man who has locked himself in one of the rooms with enough food and water to survive for another week. Again, Jim is left alone, infected in a deserted hospital, while Selena, Hannah, and Frank move into the room with the man.
Garland and Boyle say on the DVD commentary that they conceptualized this ending in post-production to see what the film would be like if they did not expand the focus beyond the core four survivors. While travelling around London at the beginning of the film, Jim picks up a copy of the Evening Standard.
In the DVD's special features it is revealed that, in order to preserve the suspension of disbelief, relatively unknown actors were cast in the film. One month before the film was released in cinemas, various newspapers included a short panel comic book style promo about the film; the various scenes showed a panicking London during those 27 days with people trying to escape the city en masse.
In March 2007, 28DaysLater director and 28 Weeks Later executive producer Danny Boyle were interviewed by an Irish radio station. 28DaysLater features scenes set in normally bustling parts of London such as Westminster Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Horse Guards Parade and Oxford Street.
To capture these locations looking empty and desolate, the film crew closed off sections of street for minutes at a time, usually early in the morning, to minimize disruption. In this case, a mobile police roadblock slowed traffic down enough to leave a long section of carriageway empty while the scene was filmed.
Due to Murphy's request, he continued the shoot using his own accent and dubbed the lines that had already been shot in post-production. “Team Tiger Awesome” created a series of videos called 28 Day Slater.
Whilst the title is clearly a play on 28 Days Later, the videos' plots actually parody Saved by the Bell and feature a fictional representation of Mario Lopez, who believes that he is Slater, his character from Saved by the Bell, during the month of February (a 28 -day month). At the conclusion of the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead, a television broadcaster can be heard stating that reports that the zombies were caused by rage-infected monkeys were absurd.
The original score was composed by John Murphy, and tracks from Brian Eno, Granddaddy and Blue States which featured in the movie also appear on the album.