28 Days Later (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

There is nothing original about the premise of an end-of-the-world zombie movie, but this one is done beautifully.

A man wakes up in a hospital. He has apparently been in a coma for quite some time. He pulls out his IV's and investigates the hospital. It is empty. Ravenously thirsty, he vandalizes a Pepsi machine. He walks out into the streets of London. They are all empty. He finds a newspaper which hints of a plague which was destroying human life. There is no electricity or plumbing or any other services. The city seems lifeless.

Eventually he meets two more humans who inform him that they don't know of any others who are "uninfected". All the other humans seem to be victims of the plague, have turned into flesh-eating zombies, as required by the movie code of conduct. In the course of the bonding between the three remaining humans, the other man (not coma boy) becomes infected. The woman chops of his head. And then there were two. Coma boy spots Christmas tree lights on an upper floor of an apartment building. It must mean there are humans! Zombies don't build generators. It is a man and his daughter, looking for human assistance to undertake a trip to Manchester, where there are radio reports of the last military base.

They must then make the trek in an old Taxi, through an ocean of zombies, and when they finally arrive in Manchester, they find that hanging out with sex-starved rogue soldiers is not significantly better than hanging out with zombies. In fact, the best and "truest" thing about 28 Days is that even with a mere dozen humans standing against a zillion zombies, the humans can't band together effectively or treat one another with respect and dignity.

I think this film works perfectly for everything but the last ten minutes. After all, how do you end an end-of-the-world movie? The evil soldiers, the good guys, and the zombies square off in a Battle Royale, and ... well, you'll have to see it.


Male: Cilian Murphy does full frontal and rear nudity.

Female: one topless anonymous zombie.

not yet on home media

And it is worth seeing. Trust me. I hate zombie movies, but I liked this one. It has impressive shots of deserted London, real wit, an attempt to portray the situation as it might really occur, scary moments, tension, and some genuine moments of emotional truth. Even the freakin' zombies aren't completely irritating.

Ebert and Berardinelli each awarded three stars. Those British critics are tough, averaging only 2 1/4 stars.

The director is Danny Boyle, who seems to have rediscovered the skewed cult appeal he showed in Trainspotting, after years of minor efforts and minimal productivity, the nadir of which resulted in the atrocious "The Beach".

The Critics Vote

  • General USA consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4.

  • General UK consensus: two and a quarter stars. Mail 5/10, Telegraph 7/10, Independent 6/10, Guardian 7/10, Times 7/10, Sun 5/10, Express 4/10, Mirror 3/10, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 7.2, Yahoo users score it a B+.
  • Box Office Mojo. Production budget was $8 million, marketing $7 million. It has already grossed $23 million in the USA in two weeks. It grossed about $10 million in the UK.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+.  I don't know how good a zombie movie can be, but this is pretty close to the ceiling. It's at least a C+, indicating a great zombie/armageddon movie, which I prefer to Night of the Living Dead. It may even be a minor crossover hit, because I think it is capable of attracting and pleasing people who would normally never dream of watching zombie-related entertainment.

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