28 Days Later

[asa left]B00005JMA8[/asa] I like a good apocolypse now and then, on film at least. King’s The Stand is probably my favorite of his novels (and I’m not alone in that; apparently most people who read his work agree on this). An end of the world story is almost as good as those round-the-dinner-table discussions of what you’d do if you won an obscene amount of money in the lottery (I love those discussions, though I rarely buy lottery tickets). In fact, a huge lottery win feels as unreal to me as most of the apocolypse stories I’ve come across.

This is a very effective movie. Atmospheric, gritty, engrossing, and just plain scary for a good amount of the time. Animal activists, in trying to free chimps that have been test subjects in a laboratory, unleash a fast moving virus that (in ten seconds flat) turns the victim into an enraged zombie. Okay, so it sounds out there. Of course it does, that’s the genre we’re talking about. Love the genre for what it is, or just don’t bother with the movie, okay?

So this particular nasty virus does its thing in England, and the countryside is crawling with the “infected”. The few healthy people try to band together, except of course that they aren’t all good guys, and therein lies the problem.

An interesting thing about the dvd release is that they included three alternate endings, for those who don’t like the not-quite-so-awful ending in the theatrical release. Which is perfect for our household, where I prefer happy endings and my husband is more in the man-o’-pain camp (as mentioned in an earlier review; it was our friend Bruce who coined this term for the ow-that-hurts-don’t-stop club which he founded).

All in all, I have to say that this movie is about as good as the genre gets. Particularly good performances by Christopher Eccleston as the Major who seems sane, at least at first, and by Brendan Gleeson, who is there to remind us what we are supposed to be.