Worth A Look: 21.85%
Pretty Bad: 8.48%
Total Crap: 9.25%
17 reviews, 287 user ratings
|28 Days Later
by Chris Parry
As a moviegoer, you're subjected to all manner of devious behaviour by film distributors on a weekly basis. You get the non-screened for critics star vehicles, you get the CGI-infested comic book movies, you get the ditzy rom-coms and Jim Carrey slapstick fests, but how often do you get to see a flick that really delights in smearing as much blood and violence and style and grace on the screen as an audience can stand? How often do you get to enjoy a post-apocalyptic nightmare without Kevin Costner appearing in a starring role? For these reasons and more, you should see 28 Days Later this weekend. To hell with the Hulk, forget Charlie and his strumpets, it's ALL ABOUT ZOMBIES. Repeat after me: I MUST GO SEE THE FAST ZOMBIES. Very good. Now go tell your friends that they're about to get their poop frightened out of them. Trust me. I know what you need.28 Days Later is not, as many pundits have been quoted as saying, 'scary'. It doesn't do that whole "here comes a scare, oops, it wasn't actually a bad guy, it was the geeky boyfriend" thing that every Hollywood scary movie does over and over. And it doesn't do stupid humor. And it doesn't fill the gaps in plot with gratutitous breast shots. And it doesn't tell you when to feel scared by slamming you with music. And it doesn't offer up crappy acting as standard. And it doesn't push believability to breaking point. And it doesn't, repeat, DOESN'T SUCK.
"Have I ever lied to you before? ...SEE THIS MOVIE!"
What 28 Days Later does, and does well, is FRIGHTEN you. It eats at you, works into your psyche, taps you on the shoulder and runs away, then taps you on the other one. It's almost annoying, but it has your number and knowns exactly how to work you into a tizzy. It plays you like a violin, giving you a little comedy here, a little romance there, then a motherload of violence, gore, tension and terror.
28 Days Later is the yardstick with which we should measure every movie that claims to be scary or gory or good. It treats the frights as something to value, not exploit to the nth degree. It treats the audience as a thinking, breathing, believing thing, not a room full of morons. And, most important of all, it wants to be a good movie, rather than just a good 'scary' movie.
Put simply, this movie is a cracker, and you can not possibly get better a bang for your buck this weekend.
Cillian Murphy is Jim, a guy waking up from a coma in a deserted hospital. As he wanders the wards he begins to realize something is very wrong here. No people. No movement. Nothing but overturned furniture and silence.
So he goes outside. Again, nothing but empty streets and silence. Nobody answers his yells for attention. Nobody passes him in the street. It's total desolation, in the middle of downtown London.
Or is it?
What Jim fails to realize is that a team of enviro-wankers have released a monkey virus (sound familiar, monkey pox victims?) which has gotten into the human population and infected them with The Rage. Only, The Infected don't dribble and go quietly mad in the corner. Oh no, these Infected folks get angry. And they see red. And they like to bite your face. And they're FAST!
The test of a great scary movie is not whether it can make you jump, it's whether it can make you slide into your seat and hide from the people behind you. And 28 Days Later will make you hide. It will make your skin crawl. It'll make you queasy. It'll make you wonder if what you're seeing on the screen might be something you could see on the news tomorrow. It'll make you turn the lights off when you get home and move away from the window.
But most of all it'll make you glad you spent your money and time taking it in. Naomie Harris and Brendan Gleeson round out a great cast of people you've probably never heard of, and that only adds to the flavor of the piece. Who really believes that Freddie Prinze Jr is about to die when a Fisherman's Friend mascot with a big hook is chasing him around a five-star Jamaican resort? Who really cares if Jennifer Love Hewitt gets a silicone leak at the hands of the same bad guy? We know they're actors, we've seen them suck over and over again, and when they tell us they're Jack and Jane Average, we know they're lying.
But these guys (with the possible exception of the always brilliant Gleeson) are unknowns. They're screw-ups. Murphy even sports a nice row of stitches and a hairstyle with more bald patches than hairy ones. They're people you'd expect to find wandering around in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. For a change, you believe every step and get sucked right in.
And when The Infected begin to appear, be damned if you don't get a shiver down your spine. These are the most messed up bad guys since Jack Nicholson went wandering in the snow with a pick-axe, and Trainspotting director Danny Boyle's flair for the cinematic makes them as repugnant as possible.With 28 Days Later, Boyle has well and truly exorcised any demons left over from the ever-so-blah Leo snorer, The Beach, with a true classic in the zombie genre. Mixing a little social warning in with true guts-for-garters gore, he's put together a frightening film - not a scary movie - that any true film fan should delight in, whether you traditionally like a good fright or not. Reward Fox with your dinero and show them that we, as an audience, respect filmmakers who respect us. 28 Days Later is the kind of film you go to the movies for, and it's the kind of film that will make me go back a second time.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6824&reviewer=1
originally posted: 06/27/03 17:41:50
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.