Tuesday, 08 March 2011
28 Days Later might be one of the last non-sequel zombie movies, excluding George A. Romero. Oh, and it does take the zombie film mighty serious, not only using the plot line for flesh-eating chaos but for the depths of human depravity. And are those zombies fast. They do not come at a slowly labored trudge a la' Shaun of the Dead, but go sprinting- not running, sprinting(1)- toward the victim, roaring and vomiting blood. Sound unpleasant? You don't know the half of it.
During the beginning of the movie, two members of my family started pointed out all they deemed inaccurate in the film. "Yeah, like those corpses wouldn't stink over a few days." "I love it how there are so few cars in a crammed city." Blah, blah, blah. I was stupefied. It's a zombie movie, people. And unless, like my brother, you seriously consider the possibility of the zombie apocalypse in our lifetimes, complete and utter realism isn't really what you're looking for in a film like this.
So, anyway. The film begins in an laboratory, where animal rights activists who accidentally unleash a virus, called rage, freeing a caged chimpanzee. The peciluair primate proceeds to dispatch one, who immediately turns zombie. Sooner or later, they all die. The prologue is somewhat corny, with shrieking monkeys and dark corners, and the viewer shouldn't pay much mind to it if they want to maintain a serious view of the movie.
The next scene shows Jim (Cillian Murphy,) the protagonist, lying in a hospital room in a dissipated room. He leaves puzzled and unsure if he is dreaming, and, to his astonishment, discovers that all of London is in the same condition. He has several high-speed encounters with the walking dead a is thrown into the care of Mark and Selena (Naomie Harris,) two survivors. An unfortunate fate befalls Mark (poor guy doesn't have a lot of screen time,) they pick up a father and daughter (Brendan Gleesan and Megan Burns) and head toward a army base, where they were promised safety via radio and where their 'saviors' may not have the purest intentions.
The movie is a steady mix of good, bad, and sometimes inane. One of the plot lines that fall into the latter varieties is the relationship between Jim, and Selena. In the first twenty-five minutes, Selena tells Jim that 'she will kill him if she has to.' Now, quick, guess... (a She will kill him, (b They will remain platonic friends, or (c they will hook up. Possible? Uh, yes. Predictable? Hell yeah. Selena is kind of a lame character who screams forced female empowerment. My favorite was the teenage girl, Hannah (Megan Burns,) who was vulnerable but strong, and kept herself together despite tremendous losses without being 'tough.' The scene where she plays mind games with one of her human aggressors and watches him turn to butter is a joy to watch.
The strongest assets are the cinematography, which is flashy, tense, and reminescent of Rennt Lola Rennt, the performances, and the undercurrent of philosophy running throughout the film. The gang mentality of the soldiers is shown in their bullying of Private Jones (Leo Bill,) and their taunts against one another. Are these he kind of guys the jerks you avoid at the coffee shop, or are the people you like and admire, who become something darker under stress? After all, many people respect the military, but who knows what crimes some of them are committing over in Afghanistan or Iraq?
But I honestly think zombies have hokey overtones and work better as comedy, and Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead work better as movies. And yes, it is a efficent piece of work, not really as frightening as interesting, and as a social commentary. But "Scary as Hell"? I don't believe so (Rated R.) *1) Reference to Zombieland*