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Movie Review

28 Days Later also known as “28 Tage später,” “28 jours plus tard,” “28 Dias Depois,” “28 días después…,” “28 dagar senare,” “28 dage senere,” “28 dana kasnije,” “28 dní poté,” “28 dni pozniej,” “28 gün sonra,” “28 giorni dopo,” “28 meres meta,” “28 nappal késõbb,” “28 päeva hiljem,” “28 päivää myöhemmin,” “Extermínio”

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, language and nudity.

Reviewed by: Mike Koger

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Sci-Fi Horror Thriller Foreign
1 hr. 53 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
January, 2003 (festival)
June 27, 2003
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyrighted, Courtesy of Fox Searchlight. Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later. Photo by Peter Mountain.

Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures

See review page on the sequel to this film: “28 Weeks Later

Blood in the Bible



VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

Plagues in the Bible

Horses in the Bible

Featuring: Alex Palmer (Activist), Bindu De Stoppani (Activist), Jukka Hiltunen (Activist), David Schneider (Scientist), Cillian Murphy (Jim), Brendan Gleeson (Frank), Naomie Harris (Selena), more »
Director: Danny Boyle
Producer: DNA Films (London), British Film Council, Robert How, Andrew Macdonald
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“His fear began when he woke up alone. His terror began when he realised he wasn’t.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A virus that locks those infected into a permanent state of killing rage, is accidentally released from a British research facility. Carried by animals and humans, the virus is impossible to contain, and spreads across the entire planet. Twenty-eight days later, a small group of survivors are trapped in London, caught in a desperate struggle to protect themselves from the infected. As they attempt to salvage a future from the apocalypse, they find that their most deadly enemy is not the virus, but other survivors.”


Copyrighted, Fox Searchlight Pictures

This is a well-made, although very violent and disturbing film coming out of Great Britain, released there in 2002. Its film style is a gritty, almost documentary style which leaves you feeling that you are more of a participant than a viewer.

Although I generally enjoy films of this nature, I was very disturbed by this film. The nature of the violence in this film surpasses the traditional George A. Romero style usually connected with films of this genre.

There is a strong message delivered through this work, a message that “people kill people… and always have.” Sad, but true. However, this is not enough of a morality play to suggest that Christians pay for such a lesson.

I strongly urge any Christian with a tender heart to avoid this film… or at least prayerfully reconsider before going. It is a cruel film, with a great deal of inhumanity and violence. I cannot recommend this for any age or film taste. The Scriptures tell us to “guard your heart with all diligence” and I say use this as a measuring stick for this or an other film.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—This film should really not be seen by children, and I am fairly certain that the film maker did not intend for it to be viewed by children. Now the only scene in the movie that could be considered an attack on Christianity is the hitting of the priest. This, in my opinion was not meant to attack Christian thought, but was meant as a thought provoking way of showing hopelessness.

Yes, it was rather shamelessly used solely for effect, but their most likely weren’t bad intentions. The biggest fears I have about kids seeing this film is its negative looks at society, more so than the blood thirsty infected (which were still, mind you, were still rather inappropriate for kids)

The soldiers who the survivors represent and express some very dark themes of human existence that kids might not comprehend. So, in a nutshell, this film is very well made, perhaps the best of its genre, but should definitely not be seen by children middle school aged and younger, at least not without adults there to supervise, to censor some of the worst scenes (the nudity, the rape) and to discuss the film with them afterwards.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Jim Galton, age 26
Positive—…excellent movie, one of the greats of all time, really enjoyed the movie. Welcome back to a classic Horror. Better than American trashy horror movies.
My Ratings: [5]
—Andrew, age 22
Positive—Reviewer concern about profanity, nudity and violence has left people ignoring significant issues this film poses:

1. In the beginning of the film, animal rights activists release and are bitten by chimps that are being abused in experiments, releasing the infection on humanity. While this suggests the AIDS virus (thought to be originally an ape virus passed to man by bites) the infection is described only as “rage” and it appears to induced by forcing the apes to watch humanity’s violent treatment of each other on the evening news.

This “rage” turns people into violent and murderous “zombies” unable to love, grow food and otherwise function as a society. They are doomed to starve.

2. The main characters are a man and a woman, driven to a survival lifestyle where they must be willing to kill anyone at any time without warning or emotional connection. Eventually they encounter a father and daughter, who care for each other, and come to see this as the way to live and become human again. This is an object lesson in salvation.

3. Later on in the film, the survivors encounter a group of soldiers who have secured a fortress against attack by the zombies. The soldiers have a hard time maintaining a functioning society because things that give life meaning, such as food and family seems to be gone. One soldier is prepared to kill himself because humanity has no future. The commander, to keep his unit going, promises them women because women are the future.

When the two women arrive, there is a conflict between the commander, who needs to provide his men with access to the women, and the hero who cares about them as people and risks his life to protect them from rape. This is serious stuff, and lest we become too judgmental, remember that even in the Bible some unusual sex happens in survival situations after humanity has been reduced to small numbers (Noah in Genesis 9, Lot in Genesis 19). We should also remember the sex trade that is universally found near military basis today.

4. Later on, the soldiers take the hero out to a mass grave to kill him. The mass grave is reminiscent of the the atrocities taking part in many of the violent conflicts that are happening in the world. The war with murderous zombies has made the soldiers murderers in turn, a warning for us in this age of fear of terrorism.

5. There is not much sexuality in the film, as the nudity performs other artistic functions. We fist meet the hero when he awakens in the hospital naked and attached to various monitors. He has survived the zombie attacks and represents the rebirth of humanity. There is nothing sexual about this scene. Later in the film some nude zombies attack. This represents their deterioration (reminiscent perhaps of the madman Jesus encounters in Matthew 8) and is not sexual either.

6. Some reviewers were upset that the first zombie the hero encounters is a former priest in a church in which people have huddled together before dying. (A scene recalling HG Wells “War of the Worlds”). There is some shock value in this, but it is a reminder that the church is not immune to rage either. This film is a cautionary tale that rage and violence are threatening to tear society apart, and only love can keep it together. This is basically a Christian message.
My Ratings: [Good/4½]
—Stanley Hirtle, age 59
Positive—I have been a Christian for fifty years. I also have a passion for really scary horror movies. If that seems a contradiction, so be it, but I must say that 28 DAYS LATER is one of the best, scariest, and most convincing horror films I have seen in years. With its plot line of a rapidly-spreading virus that turns its victims into raging lunatics whose only desire is to kill, the film takes its place firmly in a tradition that includes everything from zombie movies like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and worldwide pandemic movies like THE STAND, THE OMEGA MAN, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, and I AM LEGEND, the last three of which were all based on the same Richard Matheson novella.

So, the genre being a rather narrow one, there is necessarily some material here that is far from new. What is new here is the sheer uncompromising harshness of the story. Another reviewer has called this a cruel film, and for the tenderhearted who are easily affected by such things, this is an accurate assessment. And I think it is also an accurate description of the story line. The virus in the story is so virulent that if someone is infected, the only hope for those around them is to kill the victim, and they only have ten seconds to do it.

The morality of such an action is pretty much left for the viewer to work out on his/her own. It is easy to say “thou shalt not kill,” but such phrases are of little help when faced with a raving maniac who will tear your family (and you) to shreds if you do not act.

The acting, as in most British films, is a cut above the sort of thing you find in American movies made on such a relatively small budget: all of the characters are distinct individuals, which makes you care all the more what happens to them.

But the star of the show may well be the camera work. Filmed on digital video, the attack sequences have a sped-up, jerky look to them, leaving you wondering what exactly you have just seen while at the same time driving the horror home most effectively. And the rest of the film has a gritty, grainy look that creates an appropriate mood of doom.

Horror movies are an acquired taste, and a fan like me usually has to watch a lot of really bad movies to get to the rare nugget of gold. 28 DAYS LATER is one such gold nugget. But don’t show it to the kids; this is strictly for grown-ups.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Scott Amundsen, age 53 (USA)
Neutral—This movie was the most horribly violent movie I have ever encountered. Movies of this nature do not usually bother me, but this one did. It is hard to put into words the type of violence it was. It was truly brutal. As I left the movie theater I realized that every muscle in my body had been clenched for the last hour and a half. I would say that in this movie you see over 1000 dead bodies and you watch probably close to 200 people viciously, brutally murdered. This is not a “Horror Movie” by typical definition, so if you are looking just to be a little scared and a slight adreniline rush, this is NOT the movie. If you are looking to be subjected to nightmare creating brutality, I would still recommend seeing something else! Aside from the violent content, this movie was well made, the actors were terrific, the writing was good, and even the “lesson” behind it (“rage”) was a good one, but the violence that was portrayed was simply hard to embrace.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
—Jami, age 25
Neutral—I had no idea this was going to be a bloodbath! Nor did I know this was a scary movie. I saw this movie with my husband, and I literally held his arm throughout the whole movie. I had to close my eyes and ears. I was really scared/shaking throughout this movie. If you truly like a scary/cliffhanger movie experience, and can handle killing after killing not to mention nudity and bad language. Then this is for you. Otherwise, stay at home and rent a decent movie. My husband on the other hand, liked this movie, and is looking forward to the DVD.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
—Sabrina, age 26
Negative—…From start to finish, its violence, gore and attitude upset me a lot. The idea is that we are the danger to ourselves because in the end people were killing people. Avoid this work of the devil. My sister was in tears, because of the nude zombies and attempted rape. I couldn’t watch as the zombies caught people. The main actors assault on the priest was unforgivable, whether he be alive or dead. Disturbing. Bad.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3]
—Dale, age 19
Negative—If you like a good horror movie, this is not the one. I was very disappointed. It was boring and the story wasn’t good at all. It was basically pointless. The writing and acting were not good either. If you haven’t seen it, I wouldn’t waste your time.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
—Brady Williams, age 34
Positive—What an interesting movie! It had its share of violence and blood, but I never thought the gore was over the top. It was just disturbing enough to let you see the gravity of the situation for these characters. And what amazing characters they are! Jim is the most charismatic character I’ve seen in a long time. But most importantly, this movie asks questions about the question of humanity—what is it? What makes the “zombies” different than us? Is there any difference between what they are doing and what we do in war? Filled with tough questions and really scary zombies (they’re fast and mean), this movie is a thriller that’s not necessarily frightening, but definitely intelligent and exciting!
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Liz, age 20
Negative—“28 Days Later” was an extremely violent, full of gore movie. Why expose ourselves to this violence on screen? Even if there could be lessons to learn from this movie, as some try to say, I think I can learn enough from reading the newspapers, and even then, I’ll have time to pray for people and situations that I read about, unlike when I’m watching a movie like this. When the Bible says to “eschew evil,” I think this movie is one of the things to eschew (to avoid).

“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Does this movie give you good dreams afterward, does it give you a good laugh or help you to feel more compassionate toward people, or does it give you bad dreams, disturbing thoughts and pictures in your mind, and make you feel fearful? I certainly didn’t get any lessons out of this, except that I should have listened to the Lord’s nudging to not watch this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jan, age 57 (Guatemala)
Comments from young people
Neutral—I’m used to horror films. I’m used to the blood and gore. This movie was not by any means a film that I considered to by graphically violent. I do, however, say that the violence in this film is very brutal, which is harder to watch than cheesy low budget violence.

There was full frontal nudity which surprised me. there was attempted rapes and the most pervasive profanity I’ve ever heard in a film—also, some drug references and usage.

The film itself wasn’t even very had some decent scary sequences and some cool action, but the overall filthiness of this film takes away from it all. It wasn’t a pleasant film, at least, I’ll say for most people, don’t see it. It was very violent, very profane and very brutal. That’s basically all the film was—brutal violence, the end.

I caution anyone to research this movie and pray about it before going. It isn’t a run of the mill Hollywood flick, and people did scream and the blood vomiting sequences in the film.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 2]
—Sam, age 14
Positive—…yet another fantastic film from British director Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”), is the terrifying story of the entire population of the UK completely wiped out by a medical experiment gone wrong, appropriately titled “rage.” Offering something much more entertaining and thrilling than most run-of-the-mill zombie movies, 28 Days Later is a thoroughly enjoyable horror thriller, with a truly ironic and shocking final half hour. Despite the unnecessary, but unfortunately expected bad language, I recommend “28 Days Later” highly.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4]
—Chris Rogers, age 15
Positive—I will freely admit that there are numerable instances of swearing, violence and nudity. The swearing and violence, bear in mind that these people are essentially two adults and one child, alone and unprotected. Swearing can be offensive, but here it was used in times of extreme stress, where it is, in my view forgivable. The violence, doing what it takes to survive is a human trait. While the nudity was not necessary, it reminds us that the main characters are indeed human, it grounds them from the bloodshed and horror of the outside world. This movie is an amazing piece of work, the scenes of London empty are stunning. It did scare the living daylights out of me, but then I get jumpy in horror flicks. All in all the movie had a moral: Rage is bad, and the heros eventually escaped rage. To all those children that found this offensive, the movie was given an 18 rating, consider it before watching it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/5]
—Andrew (UK), age 18
Positive—If you like zombie or post apocalyptic settings, you’ll find no better than “28 Days Later.” Whereas other zombie movies focus more on the run and gun aspects of the genre, “28 days Later” shows an emotional side we rarely get to see. The real effects on human psyche.

This is why this movie is a gem. A diamond in the rough so to speak. The movie is violent yes, but it’s a zombie movie people. You should know what your getting into. Scenes of attempted rape are not as graphic as they sound and do well to further the plotlines.

Quick flashes of a topless zombie and the expected violence in the movie makes it suitible only for older teens and up. Fans of the genre won’t be disapointed.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Gene Angel, age 17
Movie Critics
…a blood-soaked, post-apocalyptic zombie movie in the tradition of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead…
—William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
…Men forcibly take off a woman’s clothes …and prepare to rape her. …women with bare breasts …nude man lies in a hospital bed (genitals, bare buttocks)… nude man stands in a shower (bare buttocks)… 49 F-words…
…It has been a long time since we’ve seen a horror movie as wild, weird and scary as 28 Days Later.
—Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
…horribly scary movie… For its first hour or so, “28 Days Later” is about as good as it gets, inside the horror genre and out. …loses steam in its final stretch…
—Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times
…An extremely creepy mood prevails over the production…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
…Use extreme caution / spoiled by humanist elements, very strong foul language, gory violence, and graphic…
—Tom Snyder, Movieguide