Zombie Month part IV- 28 Days Later
28 Days Later directed by Danny Boyle
Speed: Human- will run out of puff eventually.
Intelligence: Very low, although cognisant of whether it is capable of attacking or not i.e. it will revert to docile state if it perceives it cannot attack.
Behavior: Extraordinarily aggressive- will attack with tooth and nail. “Speaks” with a garbled rage. When unable to attack or unable to perceive any “prey” will go into a docile state where they stand hunched in one position. Considering types and ferocity of attack patterns they seem to cluster and wander at night. Seemingly immune and uncaring of pain.
Longevity: Approximately 1-2 months from infection due to starvation. No known “cure” but genetic resistance is discussed in the sequel. How they survive so long without eating (unless they eat what they catch) is unknown, but may be because most of the infected’s body functions cease.
Infection: Fluid to fluid contact, especially blood, from an infected human or closely related monkey. Onset is a matter of seconds during which time the body rapidly degrades to the virus (“rage”) taking over.
How to kill: Anything that would harm or wound a human will do likewise for an rage infected.
28 Days Later, in two words, kicks ass. It tells the story of a guy waking up in an abandoned hospital after being in a coma, waking up and finding the entirety of mainland Britain has been overrun by an infection which turns its host into a raging maniac. He quickly meets up with a handful of other survivors, slowly realising that the infection is getting the worst out of everyone.
28 Days Later starts off extremely promising. The story is fast but coherent, organized, engaging. The empty London shots at the beginning are superbly eerie, really bringing out a feeling of loneliness and desperation even before the first infected are shown on screen. The battles, and infected, are also shot fantastically- quick, desperate takes really show off the action. It’s rare that the infected are shown on screen up close any more than a few seconds at a time emphasizing their erratic, fast moving behaviour.
There’s a few points lost to the characterisation however. Humourous escapism such as the shopping centre binge is good fun, and the varying survival instincts and urges are all well and good. However things start to go a bit loopy by the end with (SPOILERS) the military guys begin to shoot up their own men and initiate rape with the females. This is hyper aggressive behaviour that *might* make sense if they were thugs without a resourceful leader, but they aren’t- the military commander is clever and for the most part, good intentioned. Risking friction (no pun intended) with the females of the group runs counter-intuitively to the general’s main fear that without women they have no future. The reaction by the protagonist to release an infected in order to kill the squad (with the female characters also potentially exposed) is even more bizarre. You could either pick them off, or shrug and accept that they offer the best chance of survival, but adding longevity to the infection, and exposure to the people you are trying to save, seems a little crazy.(/SPOILERS).
These minor points are bits of hair in an otherwise delicious and well cooked soup. Zombie fans will get a kick out of it and its indie feels could even get some outsiders into the fold.