28 Days Later

Dir: Danny Boyle
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston

A virus unleashed from a lab has turned 99.9% of people into psychopathic "zombies", making the UK a nightmare landscape through which four people must travel in search of salvation. Reluctant to be too critical here, since this is a) British and b) cheap, thus a welcome antidote to a) Danny Boyle's last couple of films and b) the bloated Hollywood approach to horror. However, after a solid, highly effective start, this goes off the rails in the second half, when heroic bike courier Jim (Murphy) turns into Rambo. It's not helped by Danny Boyle's decision to execute the zombie attacks by shaking the camera violently while jump-cutting, apparently believing this will cause terror in the audience. The truth is, the only thing it'll induce is motion sickness.

That's a shame, as when the camera isn't simulating an 8 on the Richter Scale, the sequences of Jim in a deserted London have an eerie beauty all their own. He is rescued by hard-edged Selena (Harris), and they subsequently team up with a taxi driver (Gleeson) and his daughter, before heading North in search of the source of a radio broadcast. They find the army in charge, and the film collapses into Die Hard of the Dead when the commander (Eccleston) demands more services from the women than ironing.

There are some serious plot-holes. Where are the 55 million bodies, and anyone who ever listened to Radio Luxembourg will wonder why radio signals are no longer capable of crossing the Channel. The finale, with its sudden leap forward, smacks of a copout, leaving much unexplained. Still, it has its moments, not least its quintessential Britishness - I read several reviews fulminating over the use of lottery money (in The Daily Mail and its offshoots!), but regardless of flaws, this still remains a better investment than anything involving Hugh Grant.


Enjoy the silence
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