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    28 Days Later...

    Later dudes

    Run, don't walk, away from the copycat horror flick "28 Days Later...," an artless and predictable ripoff of "Dawn of the Dead."


    Not to be mistaken for a sequel to the Sandra Bullock drunk drama 28 Days, Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later..." is more a remake — or a nod to, or let's be honest here and call it a complete ripoff of — George A. Romero's apocalyptic horror masterpiece "Dawn of the Dead" (a superior sequel to his 1968 nightmare "Night of the Living Dead").

    28 DAYS LATER...
    Directed by: Danny Boyle.
    Written by: Alex Garland.
    Cast: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson.
    Music by: John Murphy.

    Related links: Official site | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    They start the same way — fuzzy TV screens depicting chaos — and focus on a gung-ho quartet of hapless, non-infected survivors struggling to stay alive in a world gone raging mad. Heck, there's even a wacky shopping spree sequence in both!

    But there the similarities end. Romero's film was a work of art. Boyle's is simply junk. I realized "28 Days Later..." was in trouble from its opening expression of shock and revulsion. What did animal activists expect to find at a Cambridge primate research center anyway?

    Perhaps my biggest problem with the film, however (apart from John Murphy's schizophrenic score — crashing guitar licks in the quiet bits, choral musings during the loud parts), is its cinematography, or lack thereof (credited to Anthony Dod Mantle). Here's another DV excuse for filmmaking that features grain as big as our heroes' heads. Sometimes gritty, blown-up digital video suits a film's mood and that's true here — it's bleak and pessimistic. But "28 Days Later..." just looks cheap. As a result we don't really get to see anything, except Cillian Murphy's willie and Christopher Eccleston (Boyle's "Shallow Grave") as a rogue military man with some serious issues.

    Unlike Romero's lumbering flesh eaters, Boyle's virus-stricken ghouls — what we can see of them, that is — look more like indigents with a bad case of conjunctivitis. They move at lightening-fast speed (another reason we can barely see them), vomit blood, and need to be killed within 20 seconds of being infected or ... well, that's just one of the logic lapses in Alex Garland's script.

    The film has its moments — desolate scenes of England's capital and its surrounds impress (I was reminded of a British TV series from the '70s called "Survivors"), Brendan Gleeson ("Lake Placid", "The General") is always worth a look, and our heroine Selena (Naomie Harris) keeps her undercrackers on. But the rest is murky and manipulative. For those who thought Boyle's "The Beach" was his nadir, look again.

    SEPTEMBER 30, 2003

    Reader comments on 28 Days Later...:

  • 28 Days Later   from Amy P, Oct 20, 2003
  • i dont know about this 1!   from nicole, Nov 19, 2003
  • 28days later   from Morgana, Apr 11, 2004
  • I Disagree   from Simmo, Jul 21, 2004
  • 28 sorry sorry sorry days later   from sherry, Aug 1, 2004
  • comments   from Robert Vulic, Sep 20, 2004
  • Are you all mad??   from Harvey P. Hooligan, Nov 24, 2004
  • 28days better than Dawn of Dead   from jay, Dec 20, 2004
  • loved it   from Cynthia, Dec 29, 2004
  • Give me a break...   from Megan, Apr 11, 2005
  • 28 days later   from silvertooth, Jul 4, 2005
  • Hmm...   from tom bland, Mar 5, 2006
  • derivative but good   from Mr Wibble, Mar 19, 2006
  • I believe you are a fool.   from Lynsey, Nov 27, 2006
  • Yep.   from Kim, Oct 14, 2008
  • [no subject]   from peye, Aug 14, 2007

  • Post a comment on "28 Days Later..."