The 365 Best Films of the 2000s

Heroes of the Zeroes: 28 Days Later …

The Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films from 2000 to 2009.

“28 Days Later … ”
Rated R

Danny Boyle’s 2002 virus flick was a truly terrifying fright machine, pushing forth scream-and-jump fun. It also offered a human resonance that lingered with the scares and a grim, beautiful blurriness courtesy of its digitally shot picture.

Working with screenwriter Alex Garland, Boyle cut a chilling swath through the “it can’t happen here” notion of pandemic infection — in this case, a “rage virus” transferred, bloodily, from monkeys to humans.

That creates fast-running flesh-cravers (purists might debate terming them “zombies”) who sprint and leap after their prey, but the humans aren’t dumb fodder. Boyle astonishingly mixes shock-tactic scares with introspection about human comforts to which we cling, whether it’s crème de menthe or a cheeseburger.

There are furious attack scenes — including a London-street firebombing and a close call in a dark apartment staircase. But a discovery at one character’s home effects the mood with quietude, and because of the infection’s quick nature — and that there are no big stars — we don’t know who will be killed when in as quick a shock to the viewer as it is to the characters.

Reminiscent of “Apocalypse Now” as a hallucinatory, bombed-out hell hosting uncertain travels, “28 Days Later …” similarly played itself out at a military encampment where lunacy prevails. Whatever steam it lost during this ho-hum spook-house run didn’t completely slow the film. In a film better than “Slumdog Millionaire,” Boyle envisioned hope, remembrance, sadness and loss — in other words, everything napalmed right out of the lackluster sequel, “28 Weeks Later.”

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7 Responses to “Heroes of the Zeroes: 28 Days Later …”

  1. […] 28 Days Later … “28 Days Later …” — a far better Danny Boyle film than “Slumdog Millionaire” — continues Nick Rogers’ look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009. Continue reading → […]

  2. […] its core, “Isolation” is an infection film, but there’s no coming back to life or “28 Days Later …” zombies to be had here.  Honestly, that’s a major plus. I don’t think I could handle […]

  3. […] bar was set high after the release of this apocalyptic zombie horror from Danny Boyle. This raw and gritty survivalist film boasts lots of gore and scares to satisfy the toughest horror […]

  4. […] a small group of survivors hacking their way through the remnants of a world turned upside down — “28 Days Later …” and “I Am Legend” are a couple of examples — Soderbergh’s film is a docudrama […]

  5. […] Even Tyler Bates’ music-score garnish hijacks the ragged rumble of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and rock-orchestra crescendos of “28 Days Later …” […]

  6. Nick Rogers says:

    A good point, but Gleeson’s armor seemed awfully clunky and not really fit for running from the swift undead while on the road. (IIRC, he used it at the apartment high-rise where he and his daughter lived.) And yes, it’s blood in the eye. Gross.

  7. This movie had something I’d always wanted to see in a zombie flick: A guy who wears armor. Since it’s pretty easy to figure out that anyone who gets bit is turned into a zombie, you’d think someone smart would outfit himself in riot gear — which is exactly what the Brendan Gleeson character does.

    However, when they then venture out into the city, for some reason he leaves his protective equipment behind, and of course gets turned (by some blood in his eye, as I recall).

    Smart, then stupid.