28 Days Later DVD Review
Written by Peter West
DVD released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Alex Garland
2002, Region 1 (NTSC), 113 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on October 21st, 2003
Cillian Murphy as Jim
Toby Sedgwick as The Infected Priest
Naomie Harris as Selena
Noah Huntley as Mark
Brendan Gleeson as Frank
Megan Burns as Hannah
Christopher Eccleston as Major Henry West
The story begins with a break-in at the Cambridge Primate Research Centre. Animal Rights activists free infected chimps despite the pleas of a doctor who interrupts them. Infected with a virus named "Rage," the chimp attacks the woman who frees it and she promptly gets infected and attacks her accomplices. We then see the only Title Credits: 28 Days Later...
Jim awakes on a gurney in what looks like a recovery room. The door is locked, however keys were slipped under the door for Jim to get out if he had ever woke up. Jim finds the hospital has been deserted. Not much is different outside, it's like all of London has disappeared! Jim finds a newspaper which mentions a evacuation of the once great city. He then makes a normal decision in times of turmoil and decides to take refuge in a church. Unknown to Jim, the church is also the day haven for the "infected"! Jim is attacked by the Priest, and after narrowly escaping he finds himself pursued by several other infected zombies.
Once in the streets, Jim runs into Mark and Selena, who also save him from more zombies. Hiding out in a convenience store, Mark lays the heavy news on Jim; The world has all gone to hell while Jim has been in a coma from a bike accident delivering a package. Mark lays down the rules for Jim. You don't go out alone. You don't stay out after dark!
Worried about his parents, Jim convinces Mark and Selena to accompany him home to check up on them. Jim finds them dead in bed. In his mother's hand was a note for Jim, expressing their hope that he would never wake up! They decide to spend the night there since darkness is coming. Everything is fine until Jim lights a candle and starts viewing a video. The windows explode as zombies burst in the house! Jim barely escapes injury. Mark is not so lucky. A huge slice on Mark's arm prompts Selena to hack him to death with her machete. The two decide to leave.
Out on the streets alone, they find an apartment building with Christmas lights acting as a beacon in the night. Climbing the many levels of stairs they are attacked right before they reach their destination. Out of the shadows is a uniformed man in riot gear who fends off the zombies while Jim and Selena enter the apartment. Once safe, they meet Frank and Hannah, the apartment occupants. Later the next evening while trying to find a radio signal outside, they hear a broadcast! "Twenty-eight miles northeast of Manchester, the answer to infection!"
Reluctantly they all set out for the source of the transmission. Along the way they stock up on food and narrowly escape disaster. A quiet night is spent by the group and they almost feel free from the horror that has engulfed London. They arrive at the military outpost and find it deserted. They are almost attacked again, but this time the threat is from within! Right on cue the soldiers arrive to save the day!
They've made it to the source of the signal. "The answer to infection!" Are they safe? Are the soldiers guardian angels or new captors? Is there a secret agenda for the radio transmission? 28 Days Later has a shocking conclusion, you'll have to watch the movie to find out!
I had meant to see this film in the theater but never got around to it. I'm really disappointed I missed it! This is one incredible movie! The threat viruses impose on the world is real.... almost too real I feel after seeing this film. Not too far from where I live, we had ALF (Animal Liberation Front) free lab animals from UC Davis not too long ago. Fortunately they were not infected with anything close to this! Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) paints one apocalyptic picture here. A highly infectious virus with no known cure! The true story presented here is surviving. We grow attached to the individual struggles of the characters as they face an uncertain future. Brendan Gleeson is fanatic as Frank, the father figure of the movie, who gives the rest the hope to carry on in a world that is almost dead. Naomie Harris is the strong woman who keeps her head together, but can't help having feelings for the others even though it might get her killed. A top notch script keeps it all flowing smooth!
Fox has really outdone themselves in putting together a killer DVD. While some studios turn out bare-boned editions one after another, I've really been pleased with Fox's recent releases in the genre. 28 Days Later is bound to become a classic in years to come prompting comparisons to Dawn of the Dead and Last Man on Earth. I strongly recommend purchasing this absolutely fantastic DVD!
Video and Audio:
28 Days Later is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen. The movie is almost entirely filmed on DV, it both benefits and suffers from use of the medium. For the most part, it provides a clear sharp image and also enhances the attack scenes. Director Danny Boyle explains in the commentary that the movie would not have been possible if shot on film. Personally, I approve of the final product!
The movie has a terrific Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack. It keeps the pace of the movie fast and works well with the thrills! Also included are Dolby 2.0 Spanish and French soundtracks.
28 Days later is loaded with special features! The commentary answers almost any questions you may have about how the movie was made. I found it very informative. An extra bonus is that commentary is also included on the alternate endings as well! The featurette "Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later" is scary in it's own right, a 25 minute short on how dangerous viruses really are. Even the Photo Galleries have commentaries!
DVD Special Features:
- Deleted scenes
- Full length feature - widescreen, director and writer commentary
- Three alternate endings
- Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later - featurette
- Production stills gallery with director commentary
- Polaroid picture gallery with director commentary
- Jacknife Lee music video
- Animated story boards
- Theatrical teaser and theatrical trailer
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