So, the zombie apocalypse right? I think it’s safe to say that is has become a mainstream thought that our cannibalistic doom is inevitable. With all of the zombie hype going on in the recent years, I find that people are trying to embrace the undead by laughing it off as some absurdity that couldn’t possibly happen. Kind of like how people try to laugh about that one creepy guy you know who edits your Facebook pictures without telling you and then sends you them, like a nice little cyber gift. Sure, this is a strange gesture that you may find humorous, but deep inside you have to ask yourself, “Does he know where I live?” However many stalker jokes you make with your friends, the lingering feeling of being watched is still creeping, just like him…
Like the fear of zombies. We may make all sorts of undead jokes and puns and limericks or whatever about zombies, trying to embrace this new counterculture uprising at ComicCon, but we all know if this really were to happen, everyone would lose their shit and holy crap, zombies are actually pretty god damn scary. All it takes is for somebody’s inbred genes to mix with an ancient form of polio or something, and boom, no more Facebook stalkers. Just face-eating stalkers. The good news is, I’d just have to outrun you, and you and I both know I’m not gonna be the one to die in this situation. I’ve seen way too many scary movies to know better.
There are too many things I could go on about when it comes to zombies. But one thing that is significant to what I’m going to get into, is types of zombies.
Okay so you got your original Night of the Living Dead/Walking Dead limping type. More deadly in groups, because I guess zombies are extroverts and need to be around other zombies to reassure themselves.
And then you have the sprinters, the last thing you will ever see because these fuckers are agile for having compromised motor skills. These are the kinds of zombies everyone is praying are not feasible.
Which brings me to our movie topic: 28 Days Later. One of my favorite adaptations of the living dead.
So the movie starts out with showing us how the outbreak starts, which is kind of refreshing as opposed to making us figure it out later when the main character finally asks, “So why is my mom trying to eat me?”
The movie opens with the most soul-crushing old footage of riots and human brutality. Right away you know this is probably going to be a fucked up movie. And then your assumptions are confirmed when you see that the audience viewing this footage are monkeys that are strapped down and are being forced to view these horrific scenes. (It kind of reminds me of those extremist-type PETA commercials that are made to make you feel bad about yourself for eating McNuggets.) So these British kids break into some testing facility, and right away you just know this is going to go downhill fast when you realize it’s an animal rights group attempting to liberate said monkeys. (I’m all for freeing the test animals, because I don’t need to know that my lipstick doesn’t burn when you put it in your eyes, I think I could assume to not put lipstick there.) But no good can come from the sheer stupidity of ignoring an obviously freaked out scientist, (because he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about.) So guy in a lab coat runs in, trying to warn the dirty hippies that the monkeys are infected with something called “rage” but of course they don’t listen until one of them gets the shit bitten out of them. And when I say shit, I really mean neck, and all major arteries in the neck. And then everything just gets gnar, the girl who gets bitten starts projectile vomiting blood on her friend, and then an all out screaming, bloody, monkey rampage starts and there’s scary sirens going off and flashing lights and then this stressful music starts.. It’s an epileptic nightmare.
One of my favorite things about scary movies is when they open up in the most alarming way to set the tone for the movie, and then it cuts to the movie title. Like a friendly reminder. Like in a movie about piranhas. Some dude is relaxing on a beautiful summer day, swimming in a clear, blue lake without a care in the world. The scene is just serene. And then it takes a complete 180 and a swarm of vampire looking fish come at him at like, 50 miles per hour and attack the doomed lake-swimmer and devour him until there’s nothing but a pool tube and some clouds of blood. And of course, the movie title, “PIRANHAS ARE DANGEROUS” or something like that, appears on screen, in case you forgot what movie you were watching. It’s more like a condescending reminder actually, to me it says “Your dumb ass must have forgotten that this movie is about piranhas even though we just showed you the plot of the movie in the first five minutes.”
So after the monkey-filled, seizure-inducing opening, I always get goosebumps as the camera cuts to shots of a deserted civilization with the words, “28 Days Later” posted in the corner. It’s very fitting, for obvious reasons. (If it’s not obvious, it refers to 28 days after the initial monkey attack.) I appreciate when movies can explain the movie title without making it so obvious by slipping it into somebody’s dialogue. “But why would he go swimming in a piranha-infested lake?? Doesn’t he know that PIRANHAS ARE DANGEROUS?” (This hypothetical movie is gold)
We are introduced to Jim, played by Cillian Murphy, (who just happens to be my backup husband) and he is either the most lucky dude in England, or the most unfortunate. When we meet our main character, he wakes up and finds himself in an abandoned hospital with half of his head shaved. I suppose this could be considered stylish among today’s youth, due to the overwhelming popularity of being unpopular and going against the stream. The mainstream, I might add. (Hipster joke.) But while I was watching the movie, I found his unconventional haircut to add to the discomfort that it was indeed the end of the world, because no self-respecting person would leave an establishment with a botched haircut. And I’m sure my backup husband is indeed, a self-respecting person. (umf).
So naturally, if you wake up in an abandoned hospital, you’d probably have some questions. Like, “Where the fuck did everyone go?” Jim wanders off and goes to what some might think is safest and least creepy place possible: a church. To those who know anything about horror, a church would be the last place you’d think about going to during an apocalypse, unless you wanna join in on the Kool-aid party.
So Jim goes into the church thinking he’ll find somebody, or at least an answer, and what he finds is both. Both, meaning a chapel full of dead somebodies, answering part of his question, “Where the fuck did everyone go?” Amongst the mass grave, Jim gets the attention of a couple of the infected, including what used to be the priest. And I’ll stop here, because I don’t want to spoil anything else for you. Except that the priest-zombie is Jim’s first kill, of many.
This has to be one of my favorite zombie movies, as well as one of my favorites in general, because of the construction of the film itself, and the director’s choices of angles and music. This is one of my favorite examples of a film that very successfully sets the tone for the whole movie within the first five minutes, and the jump scares that are thrown at you are not so cheesy and predictable as they are in other films of the same genre. So if you like violence, grocery shopping montages, explosions, and have a distrust of crows, then I’d say you need to see this. Even if you like crows, watch this movie, it’s that good. You’ll probably like them less after seeing it, or more. I wouldn’t know, I don’t know you personally, anonymous reader. Unless it’s my mom. Hi mom, don’t watch this movie, it’ll gross you out and I don’t need you asking me my favorite question, “Why would he do that?? Oh my god Darian what are you watching?” Love you.