I shall be unearthing 28 Days Later‘s body of work, digging up its grave secrets and excavating its plot to see if it’s lively or mortifying. So read on only if you’ve already seen 28 Days Later, or don’t plan to.
0:00:38 If you’re going to begin a film, begin it like this. Begin it completely. There are many apes – besides us – who watch violence on the telly.
0:02:02 Animal rights activists break into the lab to document torture while a chimp on an operating table just lies there, his guts exposed. Would seem the monkey isn’t the only organ grinder.
0:04:04 The group catch a lab technician who tells them the monkeys have been infected with “Rage”. I think “infected with ‘Rage'” means the techs hid the TV remotes.
0:04:28 As soon as they’re freed, the chimps attack their rescuers. The infected activists infect the others while the monkeys applaud. Their grass roots movement is spreading.
28 Days Later
Then they make the same kind of jump that The Walking Dead aped: a man in a hospital wakes up after the infection has already decimated the population. What would be more impressive is a film about what happens during the 28 Days before.
0:08:23 As Jim leaves the hospital, he finds full cans of Pepsi cola strewn about the reception. Note to self: Zombies do not like Pepsi.
0:09:32 He’s been walking around central London for hours and not seen even one zombie? WTF!? Have they all gone to Oxford for some brains?
0:10:46 Brilliant music (Godspeed You! Black Emperor – East Hastings) while he’s picking up dosh on the steps. Making a great deal of money with no effort leads me to suspect it’s a government building.
0:13:32 Now he goes to the one place he’s sure to find zombies: A church. Don’t believe me? Go yourself next Sunday. You’ll see.
0:15:46 He sees a priest who runs at him zombie style, so he panics and swings at the Father with his sack full of cans. Now I see why zombies don’t like Pepsi.
0:16:11 WTF!? Jim runs extremely well and is in great physical shape for someone who hasn’t eaten in a month.
0:17:28 He’s rescued by 2 people in pre-stream punk attire wielding Molotov cocktails. #DeadDrunk
0:19:22 Selena (Naomie Harris) tells Jim the back story and, like her hair, she keeps it short.
0:23:37 Jim finds his emaciated parents overdosed and lying together in the bed, clutching a photo of him as a little lad. “They grow up so fast…when they’re not zombies.”
0:28:36 While in the kitchen with the others sleeping upstairs, Jim lights a candle and reminisces. A zombie espies the candlelight through a window and, as suddenly as a zombie can, storms through the glass to attack Jim. If Jim doesn’t soil himself, I do for him.
Selena: Were you bitten? Mark?
[Mark (Noah Huntley) displays a wound on his arm.]
Before he can finish that sentence, Selena Fruit Ninjas him
Looks like Jim moves up a rung on the dating ladder.
0:31:38 Walking the city streets late at night, they see a high rise with blinking fairy lights on the balcony and go to investigate. WTF!? How can the lights work without electricity? Also, what’s a zombie’s favourite question? A no brainer.
0:34:14 They run up the steps in the flat block until they reach a chap in riot gear who lets them pass and then blocks the zombies behind them. Zombies must feel like I do at the entrances to Soho clubs.
0:35:29 An actor I recognize (Brendan Gleeson as Frank) removes his gear. His name is Frank and he’s there with his teenage daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) who’s so quiet she couldn’t hurt an undead fly.
0:38:14 Ooh, Jim freshly shorn… He’s so handsome I could overlook his nicks. He looks as though he forgot he was left handed when shaving.
0:44:20 William H Monk – Abide with me (performed by Hayley Westenra)
[To be completely honest, I’m mostly posting the above music video out of spite that Fox refuses to let me post any excerpt of any length from this film.]
Ah, no. See, this is a really shit idea. You know why? Because it’s really obviously a shit idea.
Jim as they drive through a blocked tunnel to reach the army camp on the other side
0:45:08 This shit idea earns them a flat tyre. Hannah hides under the car until the stampede of rats changes her mind.
Ah, the pitter patter of little feet.
Selena: They’re running from the infected.
Now comes the pitter patter of larger feet and an intense scene where she tries to change the tyre while the men hold the side of the car up because they haven’t got the time for the jack shite.
0:47:50 They find an abandoned supermarket with the front door unlocked that’s been untouched by any riot other than the hordes of WTF!?. Their shopping spree reminds me of the one in the shopping mall in Dawn of the Dead, only less goods…
0:50:39 WTF!? While the group is siphoning petrol from a truck in the middle of nowhere, Jim decides the lack of zombies is annoying so walks into a dark restaurant because some trouble is in order. That he’s seen how the zombies act and was against taking the dangerous route in the tunnel, yet then decides to walk alone in an abandoned building against the advice of his companions, makes me think either he’s stupid or the script is. And he’s too beautiful to be stupid.
0:52:36 Good building of tension. The camera angles tell me something S&M [is bound to happen], and the tension gets tauter and I feel I’m going to snap until…nothing happens! Brilliant.
0:54:41 They stop at the Lake District (I’m fairly certain) for a picnic lunch.
Jim: Do you know what I was thinking?
Selena: You were thinking you’d never hear another piece of original music ever again. You’ll never read another book that hasn’t already been written, or see a film that hasn’t already been shot.
Jim: Uhm, that’s what you were thinking.
Selena: I was thinking I was wrong.
Jim: About what?
Selena: All the death. All the shit. It doesn’t really mean anything to Frank and Hannah because she’s got her dad and he’s got his daughter so… I was wrong when I said staying alive was as good as it gets.
Jim: See, that’s what I was thinking.
Selena: Was it?
Jim: Hmm, you stole my thought.
[Selena quickly kisses Jim’s cheek]
Jim: That’s OK. You can keep it.
You know how I know this film wasn’t written by zombies? It has too much heart.
1:02:24 They arrive at the military blockade announced on the radio, but the city on the other side of the barbed wire has been gutted by flames. The city isn’t the only thing that will be gutted.
1:04:11 The area is desolate, but it’s hard to tell if it’s been abandoned or if it’s just Manchester on the weekend.
1:05:20 A drop of zombie blood falls into Frank’s eye. Here’s a real eyesore.
1:06:22 He turns into a zombie and, just as Jim is about to kill it with a baseball bat, the soldiers decide they’ve been hiding long enough and shoot Frank. Still, it seems the army needn’t have waited for someone to become infected before coming out of hiding. Like an insensitive John Thomas, the cavalry came late.
1:07:42 The three remaining members of our group arrive at a manor kept by the army. I saw the actor who portrays Head Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston) in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. So, for him, this film is a Major upgrade in a Manor of speaking.
1:08:29 Jim’s bare arse in the shower. The water’s not the only thing that’s hot.
1:12:37 They keep one of their infected as a pet on a leash to see how long it takes for a zombie to starve to death. Soon he’ll be a model zombie.
1:19:26 One of the soldiers makes unwanted advances to Selena, but is beaten by a Sargent who is reprimanded by the Major, who whispers to the boys to “Slow down”. This is the daisy chain of command.
I promised them women.
Major West to Jim, in secret
He claims it’s survival, not rape, like every post apocalyptic rapist.
1:26:24 Because Jim is anti-rape, he’s taken out to be executed. Before that happens, he hides in a pile of dead bodies, then escapes over the wall. Good news for him. Good news for us is that he loses his shirt.
1:27:28 In the midst of all the ‘we have to rape and kill to ensure humanity in the new world order’ speech, a jet plane flies overhead, proving the new world order is belayed.
1:34:02 Jim releases the pet soldier zombie. This will make the commander a Major Disappointment as he’ll have to start the count all over again of days it takes to starve a zombie.
1:41:56 Jim gets satisfying revenge on the cruellest soldier by jamming his thumbs into the chap’s eye sockets, thusly.
1:43:57 Major Arsehole is hiding in the back seat of the getaway vehicle and shoots Jim when the trio enter the Jeep. Hannah, at the driver’s seat, throws the Jeep in reverse and backs it up to a zombie, who breaks in through the rear window and pulls the Major out. Either Hannah’s on drugs, or she’s a woman driving.
1:44:40 Hannah has to ram the gates and then we’re shown another 28 Days Later card and Jim wakes up, still sexy in a sunlit Utopia. So probably not England.
1:46:15 BTW, the zombies are starving to death and I’m reminded I didn’t eat much for dinner. Like the zombies, I could go for a little bite.
1:47:54 The fighter plane sees the giant Hello sign spelled out with sheets so our trio is saved. It would’ve been
funnier truer if the ‘O’ blew away.
1:48:10 I’d forgotten Danny Boyle directed this. This goes a long way towards explaining its brilliance.
28 Days Later Soundtrack
- WTF!?’s: 4 particularly brain dead ones
- When to Follow: This is a strong film that’s good enough to watch on a Saturday night. It’s even worth paying for. Even splurging for the Blu-Ray.
- Where’s This Found: Danny Boyle is a hit & miss with director with a lot more hits (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) than misses (The Beach). While 28 Days Later is not on a par with Trainspotting, it’s definitely a tick in the ‘Hit’ column. Out of a possible 10, I have 8 F’s to give
- What To Feedback:
Left Over WTF (Way Too Funny) Photos
Prints suitable for reposting!
WTF!? did they say?
What to Follow Up
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