[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B001CRRAGW][/pullquote] Danny Boyle is a master of genre-lead films. There’s no denying that the man can direct a engaging, beautifully shot masterpiece regardless of the conventional box that you place it in. He’s conquered fantasy realism, romantic comedy and biopic in his incredible career. 28 Days Later¦ was his attempt at redefining the horror genre by taking a conventional zombie apocalypse and bringing his unique sense of style to the table.
28 Days Later… starts with activists breaking into a secret research facility (aren’t they always) to release caged monkeys. They continue even when warned by a doctor that the monkeys are infected with a virus called ˜rage.’ Seriously if an ugly man in a white coat tells you that, why on earth would you still release the monkeys? 28 Days Later, our hero Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakes form a coma to find that the rage virus has annihilated the human population of England. Desperately trying to survive he meets up with fellow survivors Celina (Naomie Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns). Together the unlikely travelling buddies drive North to an army base and apparent ˜salvation.’
Boyle plays the whole of 28 Days Later… like a montage of horror and science fiction classics, blending a heady mix of films as diverse as Outbreak, Day of the Triffids, War of the Worlds and Apocalypse Now. But the camera lingers on shocking shots and casually drifts past destruction and devastation as if it is the norm. Combine this with incredible and memorable shots like Jim’s stroll through a deserted London and this is a film that sticks in people’s minds.
Casting in 28 Days Later…, as always in Boyle films, is good, with both Murphy and Gleeson especially impressing throughout with their half-terrified, half-heroic actions. These are everymen of the most likeable order, which allows Boyle to toy with their fates to increase, increasing the tension every heart-stopping minute. He is clearly a director that loves to push boundaries and 28 Days Later…’s ˜infected’ are a prime example. Running at full-speed in every scene, covered in blood, with shocking close-ups of their bloodshot eyes, these ˜infected’ redefine what a zombie actually is and has effectively consigned George R. Romero’s reanimated corpses to the retirement shelf.
28 Days Later… is basically what a zombie film would be like if Steven Spielberg and Ken Loach teamed up. Shocking, scary, bleak but full of warmth, family relationships and success. 28 Days Later¦ is the standard by which zombie films are now measured and to date, nothing has stacked up in the same way.