Post-apocalyptic survival has seemingly become kitschy thanks to the constant barrage of zombie books and movies. All of us have been in situations where we either discussed or heard someone discuss how they would go about surviving an apocalyptic event and whether or not they or their friends could make it. 28 Days Later didn’t make me think about how I would survive a horrific moment, rather it made me think about all that is lost or potentially gained when something so drastic occurs in our lives.
28 Days Later tells the story of a plague or virus released in large part due to monkey and animal liberation activists. What results is immediate chaos and the overall destruction of London within 28 days. The overarching theme of the film is that an individual has to become their most primal self in order to survive in a world where morals or happiness are void. Selena, played by Naomie Harris, is the perfect embodiment of a survivor. She has no qualms with killing anyone that may be infected and is very realistic about what she has to do in order to survive. Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, is the opposite of this. Having just woken up from a coma, Jim is still trying to grasp everything going on around him. Throughout the movie, both Selena and Jim begin to change and evolve as characters. This is mostly due to the introduction of Hannah (Megan Burns) and Frank (Brendan Gleeson). When combined as a force, Selena begins to realize that survival isn’t everything and there is the possibility for love or beauty to flourish. Through the rough scenarios that the gang is put through, which include army men, crows and of course, infected beings, Jim begins to switch into the role Selena use to play. He becomes much more unforgiving and blurs the line between survival and cruelty. Still, it seems a combination of both love and selfishness is what is necessary to survive in the world Dan Boyle so beautifully crafted.
The ability to film desolate scenes in the most populated parts of London could not have been easy and the sense of isolation shines through beautifully thanks to these scenes. One qualm I did have with the film is its quality on the screen. If you have the blu-ray copy, then it is not going to look good on your HD television. I believe this is in part due to the DV cameras that were used much of the time instead of a traditional film camera. I also thought the score was a bit of a let down. While some moments were really pushed forward thanks to the soundtrack, other moments felt repetitive in nature andwere a bit too disruptive for the sensitive scene taking place. As a whole, this film provides scares and a philosophical discussion about the roles we as humans take on when we are in danger or survival mode.
28 Days Later is a virus that is quick to spread and has the ability to infect more than your average horror monster. The real question is whether or not this virus simply infects horror creatures and kills them off or is the necessary boost that pushes horror creatures to the top of their game. If you ask me, this virus not only stands on its own, but it also makes horror island an even more dangerous place.
If you liked 28 Days Later, you might also like [REC] and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.