16 Years Later: An (almost) review of ’28 Days Later’

Sorting through an old box of crap, I accidentally came across my ancient DVD of ‘28 Days Later’.

Ever-happy to put aside something I should actually be doing and procrastinate, I popped it on and spent the next two hours (ish) rewatching a film I’d not seen since I first bought the DVD back in autumn 2003 – some 16 long years ago.

And it remains a cracking film! Very much of that post 9/11, pre-recession interregnum, it’s well paced and tightly plotted with almost all extraneous fat cut away. The Wyndham-esque Day of the Triffids style opening in the deserted streets of London was fantastically done and anxiety inducing in it’s own right. The later elements – the sudo-reestablishment of civilisation with the wise elder and the vulnerable child, that nascent societies’ destruction at the thrashing corpse of a dead military – all slot one after each other with a level of precision not often seen in horror.

Alas the production is something of a mixed bag – shot on one of the first prosumer digital camcorders, it is firmly a standard resolution fare with all the colour and depth of shot issues that the first wave of budget digitisation brought with it. Shots are cleverly taken, each designed to hide the limitations of the device but, when the story calls for it, the camera is pushed and is sometimes found to be lacking. This is especially apparent in scenes with large amounts of rainfall. Later transfer to DVD only exacerbated these issues.

But that’s not to say that these technical issues should stop you re-watching ‘28 Days Later’, it’s more that these issues should be remembered as facets of a film that was of it’s time and treated as so.