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. 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. On the DVD commentary, Boyle and Garland frequently call it a post apocalyptic, horror and zombie film, commenting on scenes that were specific references to George A. Romero's original Dead trilogy.
Much of the soundtrack, however, is based on a heavily edited version of the song East Hastings by the post-rock band Godspeed You! 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.
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. Malaysian film 28 Hours Later (2005) relocates the basic plot of 28 Days Later to Kuala Lumpur.
“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.
Danny Boyle and Alex Garland's 2003 smash hit, 28DaysLater, completely changed the course of modern zombie movies by paying homage to classics and drawing inspiration from something more sinister than the simplistic nature of the “living dead.” Zombie movies are a major staple in the horror genre, and are still one of the most popular “monsters” to date.
Similarly, 28DaysLater took notes from masters of horror like George A. Romero to gauge what worked, but added a modern societal twist to his timeless classic, Night of the Living Dead and other films under the director's purview. Garland and Boyle paid homage to this by making zombies the background of a post-apocalyptic world where zombies certainly were problematic, but human behaviors that stemmed from life in a lawless world was even more of a threat.
Danny Boyle, whose film credits include a wide range of movies including 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, and Trainspotting, was inspired by some distinctly human qualities for his zombies. In the film's press kit, Boyle explained that the virus mutates based on something that's intrinsic to every human being on the planet: rage.
This concept not only changes zombies efficacy in 28DaysLater, but sets the sub-genre up as irrevocably altered. He has been published on the independent horror blog Morbidly Beautiful, and has covered major genre film festivals such as Cinepocalypse in Chicago.
Jack likes to travel and explore dark tourism-related and other various haunted locations. He enjoys studying psychology, the paranormal, and will watch literally any schlock B-movie on the planet for a laugh.
July 18, 2011, I just read Mat Elf ring's Overused Comic Book Gimmicks: Zombies and really enjoyed it. I'm a zombie fan and (despite Mat's previous explicit bigotry and hatred towards Irish people) this actually articulated a lot of my frustration of the increased quantity rather than quality of all things undead.
“Argh, this statement hurts my feelings” 28DaysLater, which technically isn't a zombie comic I have to be completely honest and admit that I came down on this line of 'they're not really zombies, but it's good stuff nonetheless' initially but through exploring this sub-genre of horror, I've actually come around to the idea that the 28DL monster does deserve its place amongst its brainphillic peers.
Firstly it was explained as an aggressive mutation of the rabies virus, so there's that. Night of the Living Dead used radiation as an origin, Resident Evil used both the biological T-Virus and the parasitical Las Plazas, Some writers go for the 'it's magic, just go with it' angle as well.
Hell, the Marvel Zombies used 'extra-terrestrial' after Sentry touched a funky asteroid. So there's no discrete boundary which can be laid down to define a 'proper' zombie origin.
The addition of the ability to run seems to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people but let's go back to the 'classic zombie' in Night of the Living Dead. Romero changed that and several artists have put their own spin on the formula years since.
But in the end, the attributes of Z doesn't matter much when you get down to brass tacks and this brings me onto my last point. But zombies aren't just the brain biting bad boys of horror.
Why was death coming for us all in Romero's Night of the Living Dead in 1968? Because Kirkman brilliantly uses the idea of zombies more of a tool to put his characters under tremendous amount of stress (I mean stress in the psychological sense, not the 'since Arrested Development was cancelled, there's nothing good on' stress) Take for example, Carl Grimes, symbolizing innocence and how children lose their innocence in the face of a large traumatic event (death, family divorce etc) The zombie survival is playing second fiddle to the real topic of human survival.
You could argue that the zombies could be interchanged with alien invasion, dragons, super aggressive Mormons (doubt it'd be as good). Whereas 28Days is a more traditional approach, staying within the tropes and motifs of the sub-genre.
I can concede one area though and that is with those who view Zombies as purely a 'Horror Movie Monster'. Much like Frankenstein's monster, Dracula or werewolves that populated early 'B' movies.
There, continuity of attributes helped establish these characters in popular culture and letting zombies run might look like giving Dracula rainbow powers or werewolves the ability to fly. It seems to that crowd that breaking continuity of the trope is the same as 'breaking' the very fabric of the character.
But with the growth of transmedia interpretations of not just zombies but more or less everything those guys are going to have to let go of little Zed.