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28 DAYS LATER

Filmmakers donít bother to be original or insightful these days when making horror flicks. Even an auteur type like Danny Boyle finds no pleasure in the genre other than in embellishing his quotes from other films with hyperventilated style. Animal activists are seemingly to blame for this doomsday scenario (as they are in 12 Monkeys), having released laboratory apes infected with a virus called Rage that reduces victims to mindless whirlwinds of fury (one of the chimps is watching a loop of ultraviolent images like a simian Alex from A Clockwork Orange).

Meanwhile, 28 days later, Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma to find London abandoned (The Quiet Earth) except for the rampaging killer zombies afflicted by the virus (The Omega Man) who prey on the few untainted, spreading contagion with their bite (Night of the Living Dead) and bloody vomit (a menstrual reference from the title?). Jim joins up with fellow survivors Selena (Naomie Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Hannah (Megan Burns), his teenage daughter, in search of refuge.

Other than its numerous allusions to better films, its first-rate cast, and its stroboscopic DV cinematography, 28 Days Later is of note mainly for its lack of resonance. Like its big green counterpart The Hulk, it takes rage as its subject but has no passion or point of its own. Twenty-eight days later, nobody will remember seeing it. (108 minutes)

BY PETER KEOUGH

Issue Date: June 27 - July 3, 2003
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