28 Days Later

  • 2002
  • 1 HR 48 MIN
  • R

Every generation gets the zombies it deserves, and in an age of free-floating fury and fear of uncontainable new diseases, the walking not-quite-dead are infected with a rapidly transmitted blood disorder that turns victims into homicidal horrors. It begins in a primate research lab, where guerilla animal-activists intend to rescue the simian victims of...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Every generation gets the zombies it deserves, and in an age of free-floating fury and fear of uncontainable new diseases, the walking not-quite-dead are infected with a rapidly transmitted blood disorder that turns victims into homicidal horrors. It begins in a primate research lab, where guerilla animal-activists intend to rescue the simian victims of sadistic scientists. But the apes aren't grateful: They erupt from their cages in a blur of slashing fangs and gore. Twenty-eight days later, bike messenger Jim (Cillian Murphy) awakes from a coma in an empty, vandalized hospital. The London streets are eerily deserted, old newspaper headlines scream "Evacuation!", and everywhere the evidence of panic and desperation litters the pavements. When Jim finds life, it's a nest of the infected camped out in an otherwise abandoned church; only the timely intervention of healthy survivors Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley) saves him. The rules of the grim new world are simple: Arm yourself, avoid the infected and don't think about the future. Selena and Jim later join forces with genial taxi driver Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his teenage daughter, Hannah (Megan Burns), who've been hiding out in their high-rise apartment building since the chaos started. Lured by a staticky radio transmission loop that promises shelter and a cure for infection, they load Frank's cab with scavenged supplies and begin a perilous trek north towards Manchester. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by novelist Alex Garland (The Beach), this unrelenting horror tale's paranoid genius lies in equating free-floating wrath and physical sickness; the infected aren't literally dead, but their frenzied rage has burned away every human impulse and left only rampaging flesh. Heir to a long tradition of apocalyptic scare stories, the film wears its influences proudly: Richard Matheson's I Am Legend by way of THE OMEGA MAN (1971), John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids (not the watered-down movie version), J.G. Ballard's High-Rise, George Romero's THE CRAZIES (1973) and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD trilogy. Boyle tips his directorial hat to these and many others (the opening shot of a chimp, its skull a tangle of wires, forced to watch televised scenes of horror and destruction is a slyly twisted nod to A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) without succumbing to ironic self-referentiality. The thematic underpinnings never disrupt the story's stripped-down momentum, and the ray-of-hope ending in no way undercuts the horror of the 100 minutes that precede it.

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MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
MYKAL-MICHELLE HARRIS, ARICA HIMMEL, ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

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