June 27, 2003

By Michael Strickland

28 Days Later

It's not too difficult these days to imagine a virulent virus wiping out most of the world's population. In such a nightmarish scenario, infrastructure would quickly fail and civilization would collapse. Survival would once again be won by the fittest. But how much more difficult would it be if most of the survivors were violent, bloodthirsty zombies? No, I'm not talking about Night of the Living Dead, but rather 28 Days Later.

I confess a certain morbid fascination with such post-apocalyptic, end-of-the-world fictional scenarios. I have a whole row of paperbacks on my bookshelf dealing with this sub-genre, and I rank such dark visions of the future as Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green and Mad Max among my favorite science fiction films. However, it's been a while since I've seen a movie that captured the dread and loneliness of what the end of the world must feel like. Duds like Waterworld and The Postman (Costner ruined a great novel) tried too hard, and cheeseballs like Armageddon and Deep Impact just tried to sell popcorn. In fact, I have to think back as far as The Quiet Earth to come up with a post-apocalyptic film that had intelligence and introspection.

Which is why I was looking forward to seeing 28 Days Later today (so much so that I went to see it alone). Haunting visions of a man wandering alone in a deserted, trash-strewn London intrigued me. The reviews I read seemed favorable. The premise—a virus runs rampant across England, turning people into crazed zombies—seemed a bit cliché and possibly downright silly. But director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) executed the story with intelligence and originality. Introspective sequences of character development drew you into the movie, making the hair-raising thrills and chills—which were rendered with more suspense and less gore than you'd expect from a zombie movie—all the more immediate.

I found myself thinking about this film long after I watched the credits roll, which always makes me feel like I got my money's worth. I'd call 28 Days Later a must-see for fans of the genre, and firmly endorse it as a backup if your first choice, that future Oscar winner Charlie's Angels 2, is sold out.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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June Columns:

6/30: Halfway There
6/27: 28 Days Later
6/26: I Am a Racist
6/24: America the Obese
6/23: Reality TV Sells
6/20: June Gloom
6/18: Hatch's Hollywood Hacking
6/16: Qualcomm Stadium
6/15: Happy Father's Day
6/14: Flag Day
6/13: Friday the 13th
6/12: Extreme
6/9: Spammed
6/8: Lack of PLANning
6/7: When Grass Attacks
6/4: Culture Shock
6/1: The Baja 500
Previous months in The Archive

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