Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
Director: Danny Boyle
Released: November 2002
Everyone knows how talented a director Danny Boyle can be and his Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire backs that up, even though I personally believe that to be one of his weaker efforts when compared to Trainspotting, Sunshine and indeed 28 Days Later, a film that may or may not be a zombie film depending on who you speak too, but all can agree changed the sub-genre forever.
Opening with the iconic scenes of an abandoned London, with Jim (Murphy) waking up from a coma and attempting to not only discern what has gone on but also find a way to safety, it’s a relatively simple plot but the twist of making the infected fast, Boyle was able to inject the film with adrenaline and separate it from creeping terror that had been associated with zombies since Night of the Living Dead came out way back in 1968.
The sequence in London perfectly showcases Boyles eye for a good shot or what would look good on screen, but it’s when the film leaves the capital and the plot becomes less about the infected and more about how far humans will go to survive, that the film kicks up a gear and becomes more than just another zombie horror film, helped by some truly top-notch acting by the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Harris, Eccleston and Murphy in his break-out performance.
As good as I find the movie, there are a couple of elements that I find haven’t aged as well as hoped, firstly and this might be down to the budget, there are some plot holes surrounding Jim being left alone in the hospital and the lack of vehicles on the motorway north, while a couple of the more out-there visuals feel out of place and more than a little dated. As I said a lot of this is most likely due to the budget constraints and can be explained away and luckily they don’t detract from the movie enough to prevent it from still being an enjoyable watch that’s well worth revisiting.