Top 365 Films – #188 – 28 Days Later (2002)

Top 365 Films - 28 Days LaterDIRECTED BY: Danny Boyle

STARRING: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Noah Huntley, Stuart McQuarrie, Ricci Harnett, Leo Bill, Luke Mably, Junior Laniyan, Ray Panthaki, Sanjay Rambaruth, Marvin Campbell, David Schneider and Christopher Eccleston


EARNED (Worldwide): $82.7m




Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.


The film opens up with a group of animal rights activists breaking into a lab to release monkeys from their cages to rescue, despite the warnings from a scientist that they are infected with rage and highly contagious. As they ignore his his pleas, the virus within the monkeys rapidly spreads Great Britain. 28 days later a bicycle courier named Jim wakes up from his coma in a deserted hospital and finds the streets of London to be also deserted. Jim becomes aware of the situation when he finds out that he is not alone, meeting with other survivors, and make their way to Manchester where a group of British military personnel offer protection of any survivors from the infected.


Before Olympic sprinting zombies became the thing to do within that genre the one film that gets unfairly placed into that zombie category is the one that started that trend 28 Days Later, a bleak, helpless take on an epidemic apocalypse that causes humans to ‘rage’ out and spread the virus due to contact with saliva and blood from the infected, focusing primarily on the study of human nature when the world falls, pretty much like The Walking Dead has done on the small screen for the last few years. Given the feel of it being a documentary, Danny Boyle plays the horror down to a minimum to allow the characters to develop and have us care about them so when the infected horde comes at a rapid pace during sticky situations the suspense is cranked up and have us feel for the characters and Boyle works well with the material from writer Alex Garland (before over a decade later taking on directing duties in Ex Machina) who provides genuine and human conversational dialogue between these characters, giving us also the 20-second limit once infected, meaning we doubt dwell with the generic sub-plot of a character keeping his infection a secret and how quickly an individual will react mercilessly to eliminate an infected individual. The progression of Selena’s arc is interesting as she’s the dominant member of the group, tough and hard-boiled due to the environment she’s found herself in for the last 28 days, willing to kill anyone that ends up being infected ‘in a heartbeat’ to how she gradually regains humanity thanks to Jim and other survivors, Frank and his teenage daughter Hannah before they meet the military for the final act, providing a dark context of how can humanity proceed and move on when the world is lost. These performances are really good here for virtual ‘unknowns’ (on a global scale) at the time Cillain Murphy as Jim, Naomie Harris as Selena and great supporting performances from Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns and Christopher Eccleston.



FAVOURITE SCENE: Jim wandering through the deserted streets of London.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘This is what I’ve seen in the four weeks since infection. People killing people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, and as far back as I care to remember. People killing people. Which to my mind, puts us in a state of normality right now.’ – Major Henry West

DID YOU KNOW?: Athletes were cast as the Infected because of how important physicality is to them.Danny Boyle felt that since athletes can do things other people can’t, they would be interesting when translated into the movements of the Infected.

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