When 28 Days Later hit the theaters, I remember seeing promos for it with audience members from screenings claiming how it was so scary and terrifying. This actually turned me off from seeing it till the dvd was released. The promo made me feel like it was trying too hard to make me want to see it. I never fall for that. Now I wish I did have the chance to see this in theaters.
Did I find it scary and terrifying? Pfft, no! I did find this film to be uniquely original and impressive, so that’s something.
A group of animal activists break into a lab with the intentions of freeing poor, helpless monkeys. What they didn’t know was that those monkeys were infected with a virus known as “Rage.” The disease is highly contagious, easily spread through the blood or saliva and completely incurable. The activists are attacked, infected, then poof, the virus takes over England.
28 days later, Jim, a bike courier, awakens in a hospital after being in a coma. The hospital is vacant and the usual busy streets of London are empty and in shambles. Jim realizes that something happened while he was asleep, but what?
Jim has an encounter with the infected but is saved by survivors who fill him in on the demise of the world. He quickly learns that everyone he has ever known is dead and what’s left of the world is grim and potential hopeless.
The film continues on with Jim and other survivors Selena, Frank and Hannah fighting off the infected and in search of salvation or sanctuary from the virus.
My one gripe with this film has nothing to do with the film directly, just the “zombie” label it’s been given by the general public. It’s hard for me to think of 28 Days Later as a zombie movie. Yes, this debate can go on FORRREVEERR but in my expert opinion (humor me) zombies are reanimated dead people. What went down in this film was a viral infection just like that one from that other monkey in Outbreak. Instead of being all gross and sick, the rage virus, well made people all “grrr arggh.” The virus made the infected rip people apart with rage (eh? eh?) People weren’t being consumed as food, they were more like turned into goopy confetti.
I can’t say that the virus stops a person’s heart, ending their lives before the rage takes over, but it seems to work too quickly for the person to have a “down time” death before becoming all ragey.
And thus concludes my opinion on the zombie vs. infection debate as far as this film goes.
So whether you think this is a zombie film or not, 28 Days Later undoubtedly brought a new, fresh perspective to the horror genre which was much need in the year it was released in 2002/3. I maybe didn’t give this film a fair shot during it’s theatrical run but I gladly gave it a place in my dvd collection.