28 Days Later – movie review

Sandra Bullock is at it again. Playing alcoholic columnist slash party animal Gwen Cummings (of the original movie, 28 Days), Sandra takes the all-too-familiar route to a sequel: her character forgets everything she learned in the first movie. This time, instead of her drinking and wild lifestyle causing her to destroy her sister’s wedding and run over a lawn jockey, she winds up so drunk that she finds herself in England, breaks into a research lab and ends up letting an infected monkey out of its cage. Now, if it’s affliction was the same as hers, alcoholoism, she would have been fine, since the monkey probably would have stumbled out of it’s cage.

Unfortunately, the monkey was infected with something called ‘Rage’. It practically flew out of the cage at her, biting at her face and hands as she drunkenly giggled in defense. Her partying friends are so messed up they hardly know what to do, and by the time someone who actually works there tries to do anything about it, Sandra’s eyes have gone red and she’s projectile vomiting blood all over everyone. I think maybe the lone scientists bludgeons her to death before the infection takes hold in him, but then the screen goes black and it’s 28 days later.

The rest of the movie was weird, because Sandra Bullock never shows up again, and there’s only one alcoholic, but we don’t really see him struggling with giving it up. This isn’t so much of a sequel to 28 Days as it is a marketing ploy to build an audience off the popularity of the first movie, while giving the audience something totally unrelated. It isn’t poignant and funny. In fact, it’s pretty scary at some points. There’s a lot of suspense and tension. And no Steve Buscemi as the camp counselor, either.

Some people tried telling me 28 Days Later is a zombie movie, and unless they meant it was another horror movie by Rob Zombie, I don’t understand. There weren’t any zombies in the movie. Just the ‘infected’. Zombies are slow and dumb, and the infected, while not capable of speech or much other intelligence, move fast and with fury. These things can run almost as fast as cars can drive, they can leap over huge obstructions, they come crashing through windows and doors and generally wreak havoc in a very non-zombie-like way. But I looked at the movie poster on the way out, and it didn’t say anything about Rob Zombie, either, just some guy who did ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘The Beach’, whoever that is.

Sometimes the movie slowed way down, and people were just sitting around talking about stuff, or having dreams or getting gasoline, but I didn’t mind too much because when they did have a pause in the action the camera actually slowed down enough that you could take in the amazing shot selections. I don’t know if this is what they mean when they say ‘cinematograhy’, but there were some truly beautiful scenes and everything was lighted to create just the right moods. There was strong use of color, especially with the women towards the end, that really added to the feel of the scenes where everyone was running away from the infected for the hundredth time.

If you’re looking for another poignant but funny movie where Sandra Bullock faces her addictions and her life in England this probably isn’t the movie for you. She gets killed in the first few minutes and then the rest of the movie is a horror movie. If you’re looking for a zombie movie (with the walking dead OR by Rob Zombie), this is neither of those. 28 Days Later is a smart, original, and scary horror movie with a real sense of immediacy. It might even have a deeper meaning… something about how different people are the same deep down, just fighting to survive, but that it’s that surface of something else, of happiness and companionship and family, that really makes us human… but what do I know? I thought this was going to be another Sandra Bullock movie.

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