28 Days Later

The 'zombie flick' is a tricky genre to film. If you stick to the formula too much, the film is predictable and can become quite cliche. If you break any of the "rules", as handed down by George Romero, the film's bound to be so different that it's hard to accept as a zombie film, and thus any message(s) the film has might appear to be preachy. Though there have been films which balance this thin line, 28 Days Later sadly contains the worst cliches of both styles of the zombie film.

The film follows a group of survivors in Cambridge, England, after a deadly virus is let loose from a government building. The survivors all differ in background and thought, though they soon become a bit of a family as time progresses in their post-apocalyptic world. I'd go on, if it weren't for the fact that we've seen this story time and time again.

Granted, plenty of other zombie films have done this story before. However, what makes those zombies films better than 28 Days Later is the fact that the characters in those superior films (i.e. Night of the Living Dead) were actually interesting. Here, we're given archetypes that are forced into relationships and it's these forced relationships that really strain the film. We're never given enough time to like any of these people, as the film rushes by events. When the film isn't rushing, it's 'showing off' its digital-camera visuals, which are admittedly impressive. Still, style over substance greatly injures the film.

Not only are these characters difficult to like, they're quite stupid to boot. I normally never complain about this, because it is a horror film's job to be tense, but some of these people are just downright...stupid. For instance, there's one moment where the characters have to make an important decision. They can either drive through a dark tunnel, which is the faster route to their destination, or they could spend more time going around. If you KNOW the infected only travel in the dark, going through an unlit tunnel sounds like an idiotic idea. Jim, who may be clueless at times, at least acknowledges the stupidity of this idea, and even is the one who provides a counter-argument as to why they shouldn't go through the tunnels.

Guess what? They go through the tunnels anyway. The don't counter Jim's argument...they.just.go. I haven't seen characters this stupid since Zack Synder's remake of Dawn of The Dead.

I don't really understand why this film was cited as being so original as well, because it blatantly takes the symptoms of the Ebola virus and sticks zombie aftereffects on the victims. Other than that and the running aspect, which I do dislike, there's nothing that original or smart here. It may reference big name diseases, but the film sometimes really just feels like propaganda. It wants you to be paranoid, which is pretty insulting to the audience's intelligence.

It's not all bad, though. The visuals, as I said earlier, are quite aesthetically pleasing. Though Danny Boyle - the director - only uses a digital camera, he's able to create some great-looking shots that couldn't be captured with typical film. Some of these shots are so brilliantly lighted too, making some scenes look almost like moving paintings. The ending, I must also admit, is able to pick up some steam, in terms of narrative and originality. For example, it was interesting to see a zombie apocalypse as seen through the eyes of the military. Don't get me wrong, though, as I'm no military brat.

It's got great visuals and an interesting ending, but the rest of the film really tanks. The characters are flat and boring, their decisions can be just plain stupid, and rarely is there ever a scene where I could connect with any of the characters, or their forced relationships.

4/10 - Poor





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

iWriter said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 11:34 am
My opinion is very diffierent to yours. I thought this, was by far one of the best 'zombie' films I've seen.
 
MyConstRuctd_IdentiTy replied...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I have not seen this movie, so I'm wondering now if it's even worth my time? Iagree with you wholly on the whole 'zombie cliche' thing, though. Some movies are just like that. They're supposed to be one gene, but the rules are just bent so far that it's no longer considered whatever genre it was to originally be. I'm not sure if you've heard of it or not, but if you enjoy zombie type movies and shows, try watching 'The Walking Dead'. It's a tv series that just began is first season last year ... (more »)

 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback