28 DAYS LATER is an intense apocalyptic science fiction movie about a deadly animal virus that turns England into a wasteland ravaged by psychotic bands of infected humans. A hard “R” movie, it nevertheless features a strong moral worldview and a sympathetic hero.
The movie opens with a small group of mindless animal rights activists releasing a bunch of caged chimpanzees, even though a terrified lab scientist insists that the chimps are “infected.” The crazed animals unleash a bloody attack on everyone, including a female activist who starts vomiting blood when she’s bitten by one of the chimps.
Twenty-eight days later, a young man named Jim awakes from a coma in the deserted intensive care unit of a London hospital. After three attacks from enraged, infected people, Jim joins forces with an uninfected black woman named Selena and a father and daughter, Frank and Hannah, who are holed up in an apartment tower but are running low on water. As the group takes shelter in the tower, an automated radio broadcast claims to be a group of British soldiers based in Manchester and entices them with the “answer” to infection. Faced with no alternative, they set out in Frank’s taxicab, unaware that the worst is yet to come.
The studio ads compare this movie to a zombie film, but that’s not quite right. While the infected human beings are mindless like a zombie, they have not died. The animal virus infecting them has turned them into mindless animals of rage who don’t understand anything about life, including how to feed themselves. All they know is their murderous rage. Consequently, 28 DAYS LATER is a potent psychological metaphor for the social rage infecting today’s culture. In fact, in the opening of the movie, the chimps in the research lab are watching violent images on television because the goal of the scientists in developing the virus is to find a cure for rage caused by stimulus mechanisms like media violence.
Adding to this message is the movie’s moral premise, which seems to conclude, “Compassion conquers rage.” In the story, Jim is a compassionate hero who risks his life several times to save Selena and Hannah. Unlike other horror movies, and even other science fiction movies set in a dark future, the hero eventually succeeds in helping Selena and Hannah ultimately survive in an idyllic setting. There is even a scene where he comforts Selena by trying to give her some hope in a desperate situation.
Regrettably, however, 28 DAYS LATER contains plenty of very strong foul language, gore, and brutal violence. The movie takes the position that there is nothing that can be done with the infected people other than to kill them, because if their blood or saliva gets into your body, you immediately become infected too. There are also some humanist elements in the movie. Although there are no sex scenes, Selena and Hannah meet up with some soldiers interested in forcing them to mate because there are no other women. Jim eventually rescues them, however. Finally, Jim wakes up in his hospital bed completely naked, so there are shots of full male nudity in the movie. Also, one of the infected female attackers has no top on in a brief shot. Because of all these problems, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends extreme caution. This is definitely not a movie for children, young teenagers, and sensitive people.
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Lindsay Law, President
Fox Searchlight Pictures
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
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SUMMARY: 28 DAYS LATER is an intense apocalyptic science fiction movie about a deadly animal virus that turns England into a wasteland ravaged by psychotic bands of infected humans. The movie’s strong moral worldview is spoiled by humanist elements, very strong foul language, gory violence, and graphic, but non-sexual, male nudity.
(BB, C, H, LLL, VVV, S, NNN, A, D, M) Strong, but not perfect, moral worldview with redemptive elements, spoiled by some humanist elements and very strong foul language, gory violence and graphic, but non-sexual, nudity; about 70 mostly strong obscenities, two strong profanities, and four light profanities; very strong, sometimes gory, violence and scary violent attacks including point blank shootings, enraged people attack and vomit blood, stabbings, clubbings, blood splatters during off-camera killing with a machete, explosions, implied suicide, and masses of people get infected with a virus which turns them into a murderous rage, forcing the protagonists to kill them to keep from being infected; gang of soldiers plan to force two females to mate with them but they are eventually stopped before anything happens, though older woman kisses one of them briefly to delay him; full male nudity and brief upper female nudity (both in non-sexual contexts) and female corpse in underwear and brief shots of woman in bra; alcohol use, man raids abandoned store of its high-priced Scotch liquor while three others raid the food aisles, and use of valium to help sleeping and relieve dire situation; smoking; and, miscellaneous immorality such as deceit.
GENRE: Horror/Apocalyptic Science Fiction