Film: 28 Days Later

Cover image

28 Days Later

Director: Danny Boyle
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Hailed as the most frightening film since The Exorcist, acclaimed Director Danny Boyle’s visionary take on zombie horror “isn’t just scary…it’s absolutely terrifying” (Access Hollywood).

An infirmary patient awakens from a coma to an empty room…in a vacant hospital…in a deserted city. A powerful virus, which locks victims into a permanent state of murderous rage, has transformed the world around him into a seemingly desolate wasteland. Now a handful of survivors must fight to stay alive, unaware that the worst is yet to come…


The director/producer team that created Trainspotting turn their dynamic cinematic imaginations to the classic science fiction scenario of the last people on Earth. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma to find London deserted—until he runs into a mob of crazed plague victims. He gradually finds other still-human survivors (including Naomie Harris), with whom he heads off across the abandoned countryside to find the source of a radio broadcast that promises salvation. 28 Days Later is basically an updated version of The Omega Man and other post-apocalyptic visions; but while the movie may lack originality, it makes up for it in vivid details and creepy paranoid atmosphere. 28 Days Later’s portrait of how people behave in extreme circumstances—written by novelist Alex Garland (The Beach)—will haunt you afterward. Also featuring Brendan Gleeson (The General, Gangs of New York) and Christopher Eccleston (Shallow Grave, The Others). —Bret Fetzer

Barnes and Noble

Just when it seemed zombie movies had been done to death, a stylish, intelligent jolt from director Danny Boyle springs the sub-genre back to life. 28 Days Later, based on Alex Garland’s novel, employs the allegorical underpinnings of all the best zombie shockers. After an opening scene in which some misguided animal rights activists spring a dangerously infected primate from his lab cage, Boyle jumps four weeks ahead. A London bike messenger named Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakes from a coma to discover the city is virtually deserted, and he soon joins a few other survivors in a desperate fight against the “infected”—people overtaken with a contagious, uncontrollable rage defined only by an imperative to infect. With due homage to George Romero’s zombie classics, Boyle chooses to re-imagine rather than reinvent the genre: The infected, for instance, move with furious speed—in stark contrast to Romero’s lumbering undead. Inevitably, the story boils down to the genre’s essential Darwinian mechanics, pitting the humane, thoughtful, and victimized against not only the infected but also the tough guys with big guns. Produced in the shadow of September 11, 2001 and released at the height of the world’s SARS worries, the film inadvertently became very much a movie of its moment. Nonetheless, with its thoughtful perspective, gorgeous digital cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle, and effective genre trappings, 28 Days Later should stand the test of time. That is, it’s so good it won’t die. Tony Nigro

Related Works

Album:28 Days Later: The Soundtrack Album

28 Days Later: The Soundtrack Album

Various Artists

The soundtrack to the harrowing Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) film features the lead track from the film, the beautiful “Season Song” by Blue States & tracks from Brian Eno & Grandaddy. The original score was composed by John Murphy, one of the UK’s most prominent film composers, & the CD is enhanced with unseen footage, film stills, & more.

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