Movie Review: “28 Days Later”
It lives up to the hype. “28 Days Later” is a brilliant movie, visually exciting, conceptually fascinating, and by turns funny and warm-hearted.
Slate’s David Edelstein wrote the best review of the film, because he understood the context. It’s a combination of the latter two George Romero zombie movies, “Dawn of the Dead” (possibly the best horror film ever) and “Day of the Dead.” Both of those films begin with a tired, confused anti-zombie warror waking up from a dream. “28 Days Later” begins with a confused coma survivor waking up in an abandoned hospital. The scenes of him walking through an abandoned London, listening for noises, then finally being chased by zombies who’ve been set on fire by other survivors, are on par with Romero’s opening scenes (the panicked TV station and ghetto disaster; the scenes of undead Miami). And they reveal the major change director Danny Boyle has made to zombie movies – these things have all the power and fury of living bodies. They owe more to Dan O’Bannon’s creations in “Return of the Living Dead,” which memorably ate brains because “Being … dead … hurts!” than to Romero’s lazy flesheaters. And check out the way Boyle cuts up the footage during zombie attacks. That’s going to ripped off from now on – that’s the feeling I get from trailers for the “Dawn of the Dead” remake and “Resident Evil”: Apocalypse.”
Some people haven’t liked the movie’s military complex ending, or claimed that the conclusion depends on people doing dumb things and getting in trouble. I don’t think so – it gets to the guts of Boyle’s theme. People are horny and monstrous. When one hero says that “staying alive is the best you can hope for,” she’s wrong, because compassion is what separates humans from the unthinking zombies and horny soldiers.