Day 1: Exposure, Day 3: Infection, Day 8: Epidemic, Day 15: Evacuation, Day 20: Devastation, 15 Years Later… As 28 Days Later celebrates its 15 year anniversary, PopHorror looks back on what made this rage infected film so memorable!
It has been 28 days since Jim (Cillian Murphy), a young bicycle courier, was knocked off his bike and injured in a car accident. When he wakes up from his coma, the world has changed. London is deserted, litter-strewn and grim, and it seems the entire world has disappeared. The truth, however, is even more horrifying – a devastating psychological virus has been unleashed on the world, turning the population into blood-crazed psychopaths driven only to kill and destroy the uninfected. A bitter struggle to get out of the city with fellow survivors to a military encampment at Manchester follows – but there, their troubles are just beginning.
One of the many debates about this film is whether or not it’s technically a zombie apocalypse film. The director, Danny Boyle, has stated in the past that it is indeed NOT a zombie film. One reason is that the virus affected people more psychologically instead of physically, unlike the usual zombie flicks. He thought the rage virus was a good metaphor for the “contemporary phenomenon of social rage” (road rage, hospital rage, air rage, etc.). He really liked the idea that the virus simply amplified something already within all of us, rather than turning them into something else entirely, as is the traditional sense in zombie movies.
28 Days Later is also home to one of the strongest female leads in horror, Selena, played by the beautiful Naomi Harris. In the start of the film, Selena seemed cold-hearted and cruel when talking about survival and saying “staying alive is as good as it gets.” But there’s actually a reason for her cold outlook on life. Naomi and Danny Boyle developed Selena’s backstory together. Apparently, Selena was forced to kill her parents after they’d been infected to save her baby brother, only to discover he was infected, too. That kind of tragedy would certainly explain her loss of hope.
One of the best parts of this movie is the beautiful score, composed by John Murphy, who immediately became one of my personal favorite composers after I heard his music in this film, as well as The Last House On The Left (2009). Even if you’ve never seen 28 Days Later, there’s no doubt you’ve at least heard the film’s main theme, titled “In The House/In A Heartbeat.”
28 Days Later is undoubtedly a cult classic with a metaphorical message that’s still culturally relevant 15 years later. What was your favorite part about this film? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!