*** Official "28 DAYS LATER" Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Robert Crawford, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "28 Days Later". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  2. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Oct 3, 2000
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    This movie scared the fuck out of me. More than once.

    I'm not about to sit here and tell you I've seen thousands of horror movies. You all know I have. So have most of you. In other words, I consider myself a tough nut to crack, scare-wise.

    This flick had me jolting northwards in rapid succession. Like shock therapy. Like uncontrollable spasms of the ankles and lower back. Like being scared when you were little.

    Overhype cool-down: Is this the best horror movie I've ever seen, a flick without flaw or misstep, one that will overwhelm every single person who checks it out?

    Of course not. (A common complaint among some is that Act II sags and lurches almost visibly, and I halfway agree with that relatively minor gripe.)

    But the damn thing gets five stars from me, I absolutely cannot WAIT to see it again, it has reignited my passion and patience for the entire genre of quality horror. And it's certainly one of the finest 'end of the world' movies I've ever seen.

    The film opens with a sequence that will delight the PETA folks and absolutely horrify anyone else: a well-meaning but hopeless group of 'freedom fighters' have broken into a high-tech laboratory with the intention of liberating the primate test subjects.

    You know what they say about the Road to Hell...

    Seems these particular monkeys are being tested with a new "Rage" virus, and that freeing them from their cages is just about the worst idea since the invention of the bad idea.

    ...28 days later...

    London is a silent tomb as a sole hosptial patient awakens from a month-long coma. He searches the city and finds it wholly deserted and more than a little unsettling. Unwisely popping into a half-demolished church, our hero discovers a huge pile of moldering dead bodies...OK, maybe they're not dead after all.

    28 Days Later has been labeled a Zombie Flick by those who either need a simple label or just didn't pay much attention to the film. Zombies are slowly-shuffling undead corpses who crave human blood (or brains); the attackers in 28 Days Later are living human beings pushed to the point of rabid and astonishing lunacy...thanks to those damn tree-huggers and their raid of the monkey lab. The monsters in this film don't shuffle and whine; they run at you, screaming - and their goal isn't to drink your bodily fluids; they just want to kill you. Immediately.

    It's probably not much of a spoiler at this point to divulge that our sole character does indeed find some fellow survivors, or even that they devise a plan to rebuild society in some small fashion. But since I knew next to nothing about the plot going into the film, and I ended up absolutely loving the damn thing, I'll leave the synopses at the door. Hopefully you'll avoid too many spoilers before the movie hits theaters.

    Suffice to say that the movie has a creepy surface (where is everyone?), a few truly unsettling concepts (has the virus spread worldwide?), a satisfyingly smart subtext (not only should you not SCREW with Mother Nature, but also that you holier-than-thou do-gooders should watch your step as well) and most importantly: the movie's freakin' scary. Sudden-jolt-scary, atmosphere-as-a-whole scary and holy-crap-this-doesn't-seem-too-far-removed-from-reality scary.

    The cast is top-notch across the board, and it helps that Alex Garland's screenplay gives them actions and words that actually make some sense in the setting. This is not some 'wander alone in the dark like an imbecile' slasher flick. Instead, it's a high-end Twilight Zone episode with some wonderfully intense moments of bloody mayhem.

    Danny Boyle has done an amazing thing here: 28 Days Later is as dark and creepy (and gory!) as any quality B-flick out there - but there's also a classy sheen and professionalism to the movie that elevates it way beyond your typical genre fare. American horror movies could look like this if the studio heads didn't see the horror genre as some shameful red-headed stepchild.
  3. Joshua_Y

    Joshua_Y Screenwriter

    Dec 19, 2002
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    Wow! I just got back from seeing this amazing film and just cant speak enough good words about it...made me jump more than once and really as quite a lot of undertones about society today and such...and god did I love the way the film was shot...shooting it on video really does give it a documentary feel...loved it!

  4. Ron Boster

    Ron Boster Screenwriter

    Jan 10, 1999
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    Iloved it so much I got home an ordered a Reg 2 copy-first Pal dvd purchase... that should play on my PD-1100 HTPC. And if it doesn't I'll buy a region free player.

  5. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

    Nov 5, 1998
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    28 Days Later
    8.5 of 10

    I did not find the film overtly terrifying and was far less scared during the film than I was watching Others, Ring, or Blair Witch. However, this film has Boyle back in form and makes for a very good Sci-Fi/Horror mix, simply a well-told, interesting story. In fact much of what he is hitting upon you have seen in countless other films, including last year's Reign of Fire, but Boyle has perhaps bested them all except the original Night of the Living Dead by giving us solid moral situations and believable actions.

    The film also benefits from having a good base story. Having the infection spread so quickly makes the positions people are in more believable and as a basic entrance you can't get much better than a character waking up to a world that was wiped out while he was in some type of coma (we assume).

    I like Boyle's visual touches as well as his use of music. Again, I felt more like I was back in Shallow Grave than with Boyle's more recent work.

    In an expansion from my 2003 film thread review listed above let me add that Boyle makes very solid narrative choices much of the time and is able to build tension without ratcheting up the intensity of action to the point of being over the top. He rarely requires more than 5-10 people on screen at once and only occasionally resorts to big time action or on-screen gore (though many of the implied moments are quite nasty).

    This film exudes Boyle's artistic aptitude and attitude which is why I make the Shallow Grave comment. If you like the Trainspotting freeze frame effects then you might like how it's used here for one scene near the end. And despite being a DV production, it has the look and tone of SG and Trainspotting (perhaps not as colorful as the latter). In many ways you can feel Boyle hiding a lower budget, but with a touch that is much defter than was weilded during the making of Reign of Fire.

    Boyle also does an outstanding job of building sympathy for his lead characters with honest emotional moments which he allows to come forth naturally in the process of the narrative. For example, it does not feel forced to think that the protagonist would want to check on his family and yet Boyle also keeps the character choices as level-headed as people with survival instincts could be.

    And typical of Boyle he also turns his focus toward man's inhumanity to man, again considering as examples some of the events in SG and Trainspotting. He's half cynical of people and yet always the optimist. I like that about him.
  6. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

    Feb 8, 2001
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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of four

    I don't like horror movies. Movies that scare the crap out of me or pile on tankers of gore just aren't my thing. I do, however like movies that are full of dread and suspense, movies that are focused on characters and use the fantastical (and bloody) elements of horror with restraint--for just the right effect at the right moment. In short, my idea of a good horror movie is Alfred Hitchcock or M Night Schmaylan. Which many afficionados I'm sure would moan is not really horror in the bloody zombie slaughter sense of the word. So I almost did not see this film, I finally convinced myself to see it because I figured it would not last through another week at our multiplex, and I was right, it's gone.
    So I went in hoping that this would somehow be good, I loved the trailer up until the zombie part of it which was a big let down for me. I don't think I've ever seen a zombie movie, none of the living deads or evil deads or zombie slaughter 90000 corpses. They're not my thing, I'd rather watch an old melodrama. Despite all my reservations this film was fantastic!

    It is scary, but not in the gross out horror sense of the word (though the bloody opening scene is deceptive in that way). It's scary in the way that it builds up dread, the way it first convinces you to care for the characters before putting them in a really dangerous situation. It's scary in that the zombies are a legitimate threat, but equally scary is the brutal, animal quality that people kill each other and them. And above all it's the army guys that really scared the shit out of me, not the zombies. In other words this film is like a Lord of the Flies for adults--the beast is real this time--but the real enemy is savagery of humanity, the lightning quick way that man can go from civilized to a talking version of the 'monsters' they're fighting. This is a beautiful character story that is brilliantly executed and much deeper than I would have ever have thought.

    I'm rating this relatively low (though for me 3 stars is an excellent movie that's very much worth seeing, though just short of must see) because I think that it will grow on me.

  7. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

    Dec 18, 2002
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    I saw it on DVD last night and while I found it entertaining, it was far from being great IMO. I rate it 2 starts out of 5.

    It starts good. Boyle is very successful to create that eerie atmosphere in London and seeing the most crowded parts of the city totally empty in daylight was amazing for me. The first 45 minutes of the film was great, there were two scenes which I found scary and a third did not follow afterwards. The story lost its track when they reached Manchester and met with the soldiers. I think it is too much to ask us to believe that these soldiers, only 28 days after what happened, started to act like they are alone on earth and the future of the world is depending on them, they have to repopulate. At the same time they were acting like sickos who have been waiting for such a thing to happen and they could get the freedom to rape the first female they see. It is not convincing, at least after 28 days. Come on guys, you are on an island with a population of 80 million and do you really believe that only 6 of you have made it ? West promising the guys women because they were losing it with no hope of future! After 528 days I could understand that but too much for 28 days.

    On top of this main mistake, the second part of the film made me feel like I was watching Syl in Rambo2.

    I still give 2 stars because of the music, the cast and the first part of the film.

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