Run, don't walk, away from the copycat horror flick "28 Days Later...," an artless and predictable ripoff of "Dawn of the Dead."
By DAVID N. BUTTERWORTH
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").
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!
|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
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|
OFFOFFOFF.COM THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK
Reader comments on 28 Days Later...:
comments from Robert Vulic, Sep 20, 2004
Hmm... from tom bland, Mar 5, 2006
Yep. from Kim, Oct 14, 2008
Post a comment on "28 Days Later..."