It’s hard to believe that the Zombie sub-genre is finally taking a back seat after two decades of it being one of the most prevalent types of horror, from Shaun of the Dead to World War Z. Nevertheless, the trend that peaked in the early 2010’s with The Walking Dead’s popularity has almost entirely cannibalised itself. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy where the resurgence started.
Now renowned as one of the greatest horror and British films of all time, 28 Days Later was the surprise hit of 2002 that shocked audiences and critics alike. The film is set in London 28 days after a raging contagion has infected most of the population into zombies that can spread with a single drop of blood. Jim, played by a then-unknown Cillian Murphy, has just woken up from a coma into this post-apocalypse.
“28 Days Later was the surprise hit of 2002 that shocked audiences and critics alike.”
28 Days Later was a major departure from the conventions that defined the Romero-era of the Zombie genre. For the first time in mainstream culture, the zombies were exceptionally fast. Paired with the thrilling and haunting score by John Murphy, the decision shapes some of the most intense chase scenes to appear in cinema. Additionally, the use of rough and quick cuts make the violence almost implicit, unlike the gore featured in classics such as Dawn of the Dead, which only serves to heighten it through the audience’s imaginations.
28 Days Later doesn’t rely on its zombies – as great as they are – and instead places focus on its outstanding cast, which along with Murphy, included Naomi Harris (also an unknown), Christopher Eccleston, and Brendan Gleeson. In particular, Harris and Eccleston stand out for their portrayals as two uncompromising individuals that wrestle with the film’s themes of the limits of survival.
28 Days Later is one of the most rewarding horror films you could watch this Hallowe’en, and Tyneside Cinema will also be screening it as part of the Brexitapocalpyse section of their all-nighter on October 26th.
(Below: The song A.M. 180 by American indie group Grandaddy, made famous by its inclusion in this movie)
Last modified: 27th October 2019