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28 DAYS LATER

Animal-rights activists raid a research lab, free some chimps and unleash a virus that turns people into monsters--a boo-boo that could result in the end of the world, or at least London.

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

DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle

"The wonderfully, horribly scary movie ‘28 Days Later’ induces the sort of physical reactions that these days are more often incited by the nightly news than the latest monster flick…For its first hour or so, ‘28 Days Later’ is about as good as it gets, inside the horror genre and out…Like many post-apocalyptic stories, ‘28 Days Later’ loses steam in its final stretch… for all its topical allusions to lethal viruses and environmental calamity, the screenplay ends up vague, unfocused…Happily, this late spasm of macho doesn't ruin the film's pleasures, chief among them being the realization that movies still possess the power to scare us out of our minds." --Manohla Dargis, The Los Angeles Times

"Mr. Boyle, whose other films include ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting,’ has never been accused of lacking narrative flair or visual style. Rather, he has sometimes been suspected of having too much of both, and of lacking gravity or soul. Those movies, though exciting, could leave a sour aftertaste of cynicism in your mouth. The content of this one is far more extreme; you can almost smell the rotting flesh. But what lingers is a curious sweetness. Mr. Boyle has hardly lost his sly, provocative perversity or his ear for the rhythms of unchecked violence, but he does seem to be maturing. It's as if, in contemplating the annihilation of the human race, he has discovered his inner humanist." --A. O. Scott, The New York Times

"Boyle cannot begin to match the remorseless ranks of walleyed staggerers who parade through George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’…we have a serious shortage of fright. The setup is gruesome enough, but Boyle’s visual habits are those of larky black comedy, and you cannot hope to horrify unless you learn to linger—to pause patiently while monstrosity looms. From the start, Boyle and his editor, Chris Gill, chop and chivy the images along, and they don’t even realize that when Jim calls for help in a desolate London, he is actually crying out for a slow tracking shot." --Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"The small budget, the tawdriness, actually works in the movie’s favor, just as it did for a movie like ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ It makes for a more intimate brand of horror, one we can’t explain away by pretending we’re watching the same old well-oiled Hollywood malarkey. ‘28 Days Later’ is a first-rate zombie movie." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"At a time of hysterical overreaction to all sorts of global viruses keeping cable networks on the air past midnight, the film obviously hopes to cash in on the public fear factor. I prefer to think of it as just another horror flick—heavy on visuals, weak on logic and ultimately pointless…In what is essentially a genre film with fancy camerawork, Mr. Boyle keeps the pulse tight and the visuals arresting, but when all those ferocious, carnivorous zombies converge from everywhere at once, spewing blood and screaming in a virulent, aggressive and psychotic rage, comparisons to cheap zombie-lust epics like ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Zombie Island Massacre’ are inescapable. There’s too much vomiting in all of Mr. Boyle’s movies, and the prose turns laughably purple, too." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"Shot on gritty digital film, ‘28 Days Later’ conveys the appropriate fog of permanent doom. With the resourcefulness required of any low-budget post-apocalyptic picture, director Boyle and his production crew have done extraordinary things…But scriptwriter Alex Garland isn't the world's greatest genius when it comes to evoking human interaction. The introductory scenes between Jim and Selena, as they dawdle their way to a pretty obvious affection, are purple-prosy and wooden…The result is a movie that's creepy and truly suspenseful in some places, unintentionally comic or plain awful in others."--Desson Howe, The Washington Post

"So far, in its hysterical, intensely manipulative way, '28 Days Later' is so good. We’ve been stunned by the bold imagery and the razor-sharp pacing, and our nerves have been rattled to the breaking point ...But about a third of the way through this neo-noir nightmare, we realize that there is no philosophical point being made, no meaningful message to be drawn from all the morbid razzmatazz." --Guy Flatley, Moviecrazed

"In an era of demagoguery and terrorism, intolerance and road rage, the zombies of ‘28 Days Later’ and their zealous thirst for the jugular seem all too contemporary. Director Danny Boyle knows what scares us, and he puts it all up on the screen: paranoia, isolation, uncertainty, abandonment, ruthlessness, fear of the known as well as the unknown, helplessness, megalomania. Not to mention creatures that want to eat you. This one will stick in your head for a while, possibly longer than it's welcome." --Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

"‘28 Days Later’ itself is infected with a kind of cinematic virus that causes it to eat its own brain. The story, about a spontaneous plague that infects all but a handful of Brits, has great potential as a SARS and biomunitions-era social allegory. But Boyle, who proved himself the dark knight of prankster movies with ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting,’ shrugs off any intellectual pretense to rollick in a dead-on scare fest. On that level, ‘28 Days Later’ is indeed a frightfully good time." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"There’s much in ‘28 Days Later’ that horror fans have seen before…What raises Danny Boyle's thriller a notch above the average is heartfelt acting, especially by Naomie Harris as the heroine and Brendan Gleeson as the single dad, and the sheer energy of Alex Garland's screenplay, which Mr. Boyle has directed with enough imagination to make his notorious ‘Trainspotting" seem tame by comparison. It's not a pretty picture, but it won't be soon forgotten by thriller fans with nerves and stomachs steely enough to take its violence in stride." --David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor

"Boyle has fashioned a fine apocalyptic nightmare that ends on an appropriately ambiguous note...The screenwriter is Alex Garland, who collaborated with Boyle on ‘The Beach,’ which may explain this movie's occasional brain-dead lapses. But movies like this aren't supposed to be perfectly logical; they're supposed to give you a jolt. Which ‘28 Days Later’ certainly does…Perhaps the best reason to like ‘28 Days Later’? In a summer full of vehicular spectacles, the only car chase here is the blood-crazed infected running after a London taxi." --Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The movie may be smart about its spiritual predecessors, from ‘The Day of the Triffids’ to ‘Night of the Living Dead.’ But it never lets such intelligence get in the way of dry-mouth terrors and wacky transitions…Movies like these, whatever their aspirations, should always be fashioned with the dark tone and temporal distortion of your ugliest dreams. Shot in a frenetic digital-video style that does to your field of vision what a butter churn does with cream, ‘28 Days Later’ is more than capable of giving you a few distressing images to channel through your pillow at night." --Gene Seymour, Newsday

"Shooting guerrilla-style with dirty-looking digital video on a small budget, Boyle makes a welcome return to the intelligent groove of ‘Shallow Grave’ and ‘Trainspotting.’ He's managed to create an unsettling and thought-provoking vision of a post-apocalyptic future that, in the age of SARS, is not utterly beyond the realms of imagining -- and he's done it sans special effects. In place of elaborate sets, clever filmmaking gives the impression of a central London emptied of people and cars, to eerie effect -- and this opening reel is nothing short of magnificent." --Megan Lehmann, The New York Post