Director Boyle’s 28 Days Later scariest ‘zombie’ tribute in a while
When pressed to offer up my favorite film, I generally respond with George Romero’s 1968 drive-in classic Night of the Living Dead. One person questioned my credibility as a film reviewer when I once admitted to that. I responded: If my favorite film was Citizen Kane, how the hell could I then endure something like the cinematic atrocity that was The Wedding Planner and so offer up an unbiased appraisal? I like trash. But if the trash isn’t good, I know it.
Is 28 Days Later “good trash"? Oh yeah, baby. Scariest movie I’ve seen in quite a while.
A bunch of ALF types busts into a Brit animal research lab, bent on liberating the research animals. Unfortunately, they liberate a bit more than they bargained for when an ungrateful chimpanzee promptly puts the bite on one of them, setting off a chain of infection. Seems the gub’mint has been working on a viral form of rage. Nasty stuff, it seems. Once infected, a poor sap goes from happy-smiley to wild-eyed-frothing-at-the-mouth in seconds flat.
Twenty-eight days later some common bloke wakes up in a hospital bed to find that the city of Big Ben is half past dead. After mucking about for a while in the ruins, he finally hooks up with some other folks, which is good, because there are some severely messed-up people still roaming the streets—we’re talking the tweaker version of a George Romero convention here.
Although 28 Days Later isn’t the most attractive film to watch (it was shot on digital video), it does maintain a serious level of dread. Well, to a point. After our hero and his new friends head out to the boonies to look for a promised bastion of civilization, things tend to lag a little. Just a little, because things get a little loopy when they finally do hook up with civilization.
The only issue I have here is how derivative the film is. Anyone who remembers Day of the Triffids is gonna go, "Hey, wait a minute…." We’re talking virtual remake here, substituting deranged, bloodthirsty feral folk for the bloodthirsty broccoli of the original. Add to that various "tributes" to the Romero trilogy and ensuing knock-offs, and ol’ Danny Boy’s doing a whole lot of borrowing here. I still enjoyed it, if for no other reason than it didn’t feature Jennifer Lopez trying to squeeze her ass into a wedding gown.