Directed and produced by the duo behind Trainspotting and penned by
Alex Garland (The Beach and the upcoming Halo film), 28 Days
Later created a stir among moviegoers when it came out. It had been a long
time since a truly original suspense/horror movie had managed to captivate
audiences, and they came out in droves to support the film. Despite costing only
$8 Million to shoot, the movie grossed over $45 Million in the US alone and
significantly more worldwide.
Lab animals infected with a virus causing uncontrollable rage are released by
activists, and the movie suddenly cuts to... 28 Days Later. A young man named
Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, wakes up in a hospital, only to find it and the
rest of London, deserted. He meets up with a handful of survivors and learns
that the virus swept across the entire world in less than a month, killing
nearly everyone. The "infected" as they are called, don't die, but are instead
turned into zombie-like creatures with a thirst for human flesh, and they
outnumber Jim and his comrades by the thousands. The small group eventually
finds salvation when they meet up with another group of survivors... or so it
28 Days Later is one of those movies that gets you thinking about what
you would do if you were in the main characters' place, and that's the main
reason I found it enjoyable. Sure they do some lame things from time to time,
but for the most part, you see why Jim and the others make the decisions they
do. You feel their helplessness when things are bleak, and you feel excited when
things are looking up. The movie's not without its flaws, however. It gets
pretty slow in the middle, and it's not a particularly uplifting film, but for
the most part, it's very enjoyable.
On DVD the movie is shown in a 1.85:1 aspect ration and the UMD is presented in
a 1.78:1 Anamorphic transfer, so there's very little difference in the picture
across formats. The PSP doesn't do dark scenes well, so there are a number of
instances where you really can't see anything. UMD is a new format, so it's
understandable that video isn't being optimized perfectly for it, but hopefully
companies will start cranking up the brightness a little bit to compensate for
the PSP. When brightness isn't an issue, the picture is phenomenally clear
especially during the "infected" attacks, which were shot at a different shutter
speed. The movie is supposed to look dreary, so there are lots of greys and
greens, but when there is a splash of color, it looks great and you take notice.
There's no doubt that this movie would sound great in true surround sound, but
the pseudo-surround stereo mix works just fine on the PSP. You'll hear branches
snap and leaves rustle as the infected run through the woods; you'll hear the
panicked breathing of someone hiding, just inches away from meeting their end -
even the rain sounds good. There are a few spots where the sound effects seem a
little dull and don't have the "oomph" that you'd expect, but overall it's one
of the better sounding UMD's that I've heard.
If you habla espanol, or parle francais, there are stereo tracks in both
languages. English and Spanish subtitles are included as well, but there aren't
any in French.
One of the most noteworthy things about the movie's theatrical release was
the alternate ending that was added on to the film a few weeks into its run.
Both that cut as well as an additional ending are included on the UMD. I won't
give you any spoilers, but one ending takes the movie in a vastly different
direction, while the other is almost unchanged from the original ending, save
for one significant omission. Unfortunately there is no director's commentary
for the movie or the additional endings, which is a shame because the commentary
is particularly interesting on the DVD.
In addition to the two alternate endings, there are trailers for Fight
Club, Kiss of the Dragon, and Never Die Alone.
I wasn't expecting a whole lot from 28 Days Later, but I came away
pleasantly surprised. I don't know that I'd recommend it as a purchase to
someone that hasn't seen it, but it's certainly worth a rental. If you are a fan
of the movie, this is one of the better UMD's out there, so you might want to
consider picking it up.
Trivia: Cillian Murphy auditioned for the role of Batman in Batman Begins.
The part went to Christian Bale, but Cillian was cast as The Scarecrow.