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28 Days Later review

28 Days Later
18certificate 18
Running time: 113 minutes
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Noah Huntley, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns
Rating 7 out of 10
Almost 35 years after George A Romero's cult zombie flick, Night Of The Living Dead, Danny Boyle attempts to revive the genre with 28 Days Later.

Set in a post-apocalyptic, quasi-futuristic Britain, the film sets up a horribly believable premise, pitting the human race in a bloodthirsty battle for survival.

Animal rights activists release several monkeys from a research facility, unaware that the creatures are carriers of a deadly contagion. Within the space of four weeks, the virus has infected almost the entire British population, transforming everyday folk into slavering, blood-spewing zombies.

28 Days after the initial outbreak, coma patient Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakes in a London hospital, to find a city deserted of all human life. As he scours the streets, Jim comes face to face with the zombies and two uninfected survivors, Mark (Noah Huntley) and Selena (Naomie Harris), who guide him to safety.

Mark dies during a skirmish with the undead, and Jim and Selena seek refuge with a father, Frank (Brendan Gleeson), and his plucky daughter Hannah (Megan Burns). Together, they plan to escape London and head north to Manchester, the rumoured location of an army outpost, which has successfully fought off the advancing zombies.

28 Days Later pulls few punches in terms of violence, and audiences of a nervous disposition will find some scenes hard to stomach. The scenes set in a deserted London are especially unsettling, ruined only by the unfortunate sight of passing traffic in the very distance of one panoramic shot.

Boyle sustains the mounting tension through clever use of handheld camerawork and grimy visuals. However, he sometimes has to contrive the shocks, such as having his four survivors break down in their getaway car in a tunnel, rather than take the safer route above ground.

The gore-drenched finale is a tad rushed, but delivers the requisite thrills and blood-letting.

A treat for Hallowe'en.

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