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28 Days Later

28 Days Later Movie Poster

Fox Searchlight, 2003, R, 1 hr. 48 min. 

All big-budget thriller producers take note: this movie shows you don't have to spend a great amount of money to make a great, thriller.

The movie opens with a group of animal activists freeing monkeys from a lab, ignoring the warnings of a terrified lab worker that the monkeys are infected with a deadly virus.  Twenty-eight days later, Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bike messenger who has been in the hospital after being hit by a car while on the job, wakes up to find that London has been deserted.  There is not a single person around.  Jim wanders around the city and then meets a few people ... only they are zombie-like creatures trying to kill him! He is saved by Selena (Naomie Harris), who later informs him that the virus from the monkeys quickly spread throughout the county and possibly the world, with only a "lucky" few remaining uninfected.  

Jim and Selena meet two more survivors, Hannah (Megan Burns) and her father Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and the group decides to try and find other survivors who are broadcasting a message with their location over the radio.  Only problem is the other survivors are running a close second to the creep factor of the zombies.  

This was a very entertaining, thrilling movie with a stellar cast.  The suspense and tension throughout the film is palpable and the creep factor is high.  But I'm a sucker for anything having to do with deadly, horrific viruses.  And zombies.  In fact, this movie is highly reminiscent of Night of the Living Dead, a classic movie that 28 Days Later does a fine job of paralleling.  A favorite part of mine was when the group sets off to find other survivors and suddenly find themselves being overrun by rats - rats who are running for their lives away from the crazed zombies.  

This movie made good use of something that is sorely missing in movies lately: silence.  It served to drum up the tension and suspense and made you feel the isolation of the characters.  The movie is wonderfully shot in an 8mm feel, with a jerky, grainy quality that brought out the starkness of the desolate surroundings and the personal isolation of the main characters.

There are a few things I would have liked more explanation for: why is the city completely deserted - where are the cars and the bodies of the dead?  I also don't know why only a few remained uninfected and how they escaped infection.  And why are the zombies only a real danger at night?

Cillian Murphy is wonderful as Jim. Where has he been hiding?  He is a strong screen presence and can play both tough and sensitive, sometimes at the same time.  Naomie Harris is equally wonderful and the two have a good chemistry together.  Although they did engage in one of my biggest pet peeves in thriller and action movies: finding time for a little romance when the world is crashing down around them. But then again, in this case, it was more out of desperation and loneliness and it worked well for the movie.

I do have to say that my enjoyment of going to the movies is waning due to the rude and inappropriate behavior of my fellow movie-goers.  So, may I please take this moment to give a Public Service Announcement: TURN YOUR CELL PHONES OFF WHILE IN A MOVIE THEATRE.  And while I'm at it, a note to parents: YOUR 13-YEAR OLD KIDS DO NOT NEED THEIR OWN CELL PHONE!  And for goodness sakes people, you're not in your living room so don't talk loudly as if you are - the people on the screen can't hear you.  Thank you for your cooperation.

Do you think we got this movie totally wrong? Agree with us? Or just want everyone to know your thoughts? Then start a discussion of this movie in our forums!




Fox Searchlight






108 Minutes







Actor / Actress


Cillian Murphy 


Naomie Harris


Megan Burns


Christopher Eccleston

Major Henry West

Brendan Gleeson




Danny Boyle


Andrew MacDonald


Alex Garland


Anthony Dod Mantle

Director of Photography

Mark Tildesley

Production Designer


Reviewed by: Hauntmistress  6/27/2003


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