"This is what I've seen in the four weeks since infection. People killing people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, and as far back as I care to remember. People killing people. Which to my mind, puts us in a state of normality right now."
Major Henry West
28 Days Later
28 Days Later.jpg
Title: 28 Days Later
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Alex Garland
Produced by: Andrew Macdonald
Music by: John Murphy
Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle
Edited by: Chris Gill
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures; DNA Films
Released: November 1st, 2002
Rating: R
Running time: 113 min.
Country: UK
Language: English
Budget: £5,000,000 (UK); $8,000,000 (US)
Gross: £6,140,420 (UK); $45,063,889 (US); $82,719,885 (total)
Next: 28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Days Later is a 2002 British horror film directed by Danny Boyle. It was released theatrically in the UK on November 1st, 2002 and in the United States on January, 2003 where it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Filmed entirely on digital video, the film depicts a post-apocalyptic setting in which England is virtually destroyed following the effects of a virus that turns humans into violent, blood-crazed maniacs. A man named Jim awakens in a London hospital after having been in a coma, only to discover that the world he once knew is now gone. Searching the city, he eventually comes upon other survivors who embark upon a journey to Manchester, where they hope to find a military instillation free of contamination and the zombie-like presence of the infected.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Jim wanders the streets of London.

A group of activists in England break into an animal testing center and attempt to rescue all of the caged primates. A scientist discovers them and tries to warn them against setting the apes free. He tries to tell them that they have been infected with "rage" and that the virus is contagious. One of the apes escapes from his cage and attacks one of the activists. Chaos ensues.

Twenty-eight days later: A bicycle courier named Jim awakens inside a London hospital. He has been unconscious for several weeks and cannot find any of the hospital staff to attend him. Donning a pair of scrubs, he makes his way through the hospital corridors, but the building is completely deserted. He wanders out onto the streets, shouting "Hello!" over and over again. The streets are barren. The sidewalks are lined up with abandoned cars and refuse blows across the asphalt.

Jim seeks shelter inside of a church. The walls contain graffiti with messages exclaiming, "The end is extremely fucking nigh!" Continuing on, he finds the center of the church littered with the bodies of the dead. Amongst the morass of corpses however, are a few living creatures. These men and women are the "infected", victims of the "rage" virus unwittingly loosed upon the country twenty-eight days ago. An infected priest snarls and rushes towards Jim who turns and runs.


An Infected

He races out into the street where he comes upon two non-infected survivors named Selena and Mark. They pull Jim to safety and escape to their secret hideout. Selena solemnly explains everything that has happened while Jim was comatose in the hospital. She tells him how quickly the contagion spreads and that it took very little time for all of England to become completely consumed. They have no idea if the infection has spread beyond the island. Frantic with worry, Jim returns to his home. He finds that his parents had elected to take their own lives rather than risk infection. With nowhere else to go, Jim decides to stay with Mark and Selena.

Later, the group is attacked by a horde of infected. Though they succeed in fighting them off, Mark is bitten upon the arm. Selena wastes no time and hacks Mark to death with a machete. Afterward, she warns Jim that the virus takes only twenty seconds to transform a human into a slavering, murderous beast, and that she will not hesitate to put him down at the first sign of infection.

That evening, they see blinking holiday lights coming from a high-rise apartment building across town. Hoping that there might be more survivors, they trek over to the building, but are attacked by more infected on the stairwell. A man clad in riot gear appears and beats the infected back, ushering Jim and Selena into the safety of his home. After he locks the door behind him, the man removes the riot gear and introduces himself as Frank. He also introduces Jim and Selena to his teenage daughter Hannah. The four spend the evening relaxing and getting to know one another. Selena maintains a steely resolve, committed only towards the sole function of survival. She refuses to allow allusions to anything else to soften and/or weaken her.

The following morning, Frank takes Jim up to the roof where he has been collecting potable rain water in buckets. He has a small transistor radio, which he always keeps on in the hopes of receiving a broadcast from anyone else who may have survived the infection. They eventually receive a signal from a military blockade broadcasting from Manchester. The voice indicates that they are offering sanctuary to any survivors and that they have the "answer" to infection. They determine that the message is prerecorded and whoever originally broadcast it might be dead now. Selena is anxious to make the move towards Manchester, but is reluctant to bring Frank and Hannah, citing that they would only slow them down. Jim disagrees. Hannah doesn't buy Selena's tough-talking attitude and tells her that Jim and she need Frank and Hannah just as much as they need them. Frank appeals to Jim's compassion, telling him that he needs to know that there is someone who can look after Hannah should something happen to him.

Later that day, the group takes Frank's taxicab through an underground thoroughfare littered with debris and wreckage. Jim remarks how he feels that this is "really a shit idea". They manage to make it through, but suffer a flat tire for their troubles. After effecting repairs, they stop at a supermarket to gather supplies.

Frank gets infected

Afterward, they take the cab on towards Manchester. They stop just outside of the military blockade when Frank becomes infected by a drop of blood dripping down from the carcass of a dead bird upon a lamp post. He immediately goes into a frenzy, but manages to tell Hannah that he loves her before fully succumbing to the rage. Jim beats Frank back with a bat, but then, military soldiers appear from nowhere and gun him down.

The soldiers bring Jim, Selena and Hannah into their compound where they are introduced to Major Henry West. West commands a small contingent of men, numbering no more than a dozen. Jim had expected to find an entire brigade and is sorely disappointed. West invites them in and has them join his troops for a meal. He reveals that he does not have the answer to infection as his recording had suggested. Instead, he has captured one of his own infected soldiers, Private Mailer, and chained him up in a quad on the back of the estate. He is waiting to see how long it takes for an infected human to starve to death.

Major West proves to be less virtuous than the others had hoped. He reveals that he had promised his men women and intends on allowing the others to have their way with Selena and Hannah whether they are willing to engage them or not. One of West's men, Sergeant Farrell, dissents from this course of action, as does Jim and West is forced to take action against them. Farrell informs Jim that there is no worldwide epidemic, but rather that the island of Great Britain has been quarantined.

Private Mailer gets sick.

Corporal Mitchell brings Jim and Farrell out into the woods behind the estate where they intend on executing Jim. Farrell tries to stop them, but during the fracas, he is accidentally killed by friendly fire. Jim manages to escape by hiding amongst a pile of dead bodies. When the soldiers leave the area, he emerges from seclusion, scales a wall and returns to the compound to rescue Selena and Hannah.

Mitchell and his men return to the house and they have the two women locked away inside a room. Knowing that they are to be raped by these men, Selena gives Hannah a pill that she hopes will help her to cope with the horror of it all.

Starving Infected

Jim gets back to the house and unleashes Private Mailer, allowing the berserker to go after any soldier he chooses to. As chaos erupts due to Mailer's rampage, Jim manages to find the women. He fights with Corporal Mitchell and brutally kills him by shoving his thumbs into the soldier's eyes. Covered in blood, Jim wheels around and Selena hesitates as she wonders whether Jim has been infected or not. When it becomes clear that Jim is not infected, the two embrace. Hannah finds them and, mistakenly believing that Jim is infected, strikes him across the back of the head with a vase. After realizing her mistake, the trio run to Frank's cab, only to encounter Major West, who shoots Jim in the stomach. Hannah commandeers the cab, backs it up to the front door, delivering West to the infected Private Mailer. She then drives away with Jim and Selena.

Selena and Hannah rush Jim into a deserted hospital, where Selena performs life-saving emergency procedures. Twenty-eight days later, Jim is shown waking up in recovery again, this time on one side of a double bed in a remote cottage. Downstairs, he finds Selena sewing large swaths of fabric when Hannah appears. The three rush outside and unfurl a huge cloth banner, adding the final letter to the word "HELLO" laid out on the meadow. As a military jet flies over the landscape, the infected are shown lying by the road, dying of starvation. After the jet zooms past the three waving survivors and their distress sign, Selena wonders rhetorically, "Do you think they saw us this time?"

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • 28 Days Later is sometimes misconstrued as a zombie movie when in fact the infected are living, breathing human beings who bear moderate behavioral and physical characteristics common to classic film zombies.
  • The supermarket that the group stops at for supplies is relatively clean and untouched by infected, suggesting that the infected do not eat food the way a normal human being does. This theory is later strengthened by Major West's experiment to see how long it takes an infected to starve to death. The answer to Major West's query is actually revealed in the sequel 28 Weeks Later.
  • The experiments done upon the monkeys at the beginning of the film is similar to the brainwashing techniques used in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange.

Characters[edit | edit source]

In alphabetical order

Corporal Mitchell
Corporal Mitchell was the second-in-command under Major Henry West following the demise of Sergeant Farrell. A loathsome man, it was his intent to allow those under him to rape Selena and Hannah, who had come to them looking for help. When Jim fought to protect them, Mitchell took Jim out into the woods with the intent of torturing and perhaps even killing him. Jim escaped and later caught up with Mitchell back at the compound whereupon he killed him by pressing his thumbs into Mitchell's eyes.
Frank was a taxicab driver and the father of Hannah. They lived in a high-rise apartment in London. He safeguarded his home by wearing protective armor and a face mask. Frank befriended Jim and Selena and realized that he needed their help. He relied upon them to look after Hannah should something happen to him. They decided to take Frank's cab to Manchester in the hopes of finding a military base that might possess a cure for the infection. En route however, Frank was infected and gunned down by military soldiers.
Hannah was the daughter of Frank. After her father was killed as a result of infection, Hannah became the ward of Jim and Selena. They were taken in by a military squad whom they believed was going to offer them sanctuary. Major Henry West had promised his men "women" and it was their intent to rape Selena and Hannah. Selena gave Hannah some pills so that when it happens, "she wouldn't care". Fortunately, Jim managed to rescue them before any action could take place and the three managed to escape the compound. Hannah remained with Jim and Selena and they lived in a small country cottage where they persisted in making contact with the outside world.
Henry West
Henry West was a major in the British army and the O.C. of the military contingent quartered at a secure compound in Manchester. West was responsible for broadcasting a radio message indicating that they possessed the answer to the virus. As it was however, his men and he had very little information. West offered sanctuary to Jim, Selena and Hannah, but also promised his men that they could avail themselves of the women. West was killed when an infected soldier named Mailer was let loose on the compound and attacked him.
Jim was a bicycle courier who was involved in an accident and was in a coma during the onset of the virus outbreak. When he awakened, nearly all of London had been laid waste by the infected. Jim found two survivors, Selena and Mark, who helped him to stay alive. After Mark fell to the infection, Selena and he befriended a father and daughter named Frank and Hannah. They traveled together to Manchester in the hopes of finding a military base that held the answer to the virus. Frank was infected and subsequently killed during the journey. When the soldiers at the compound turned against them, Jim fought to protect Selena and Hannah, killing at least two soldiers in the process. The three were able to escape and eke out a new life for themselves.
Jim's father
Seen only briefly, Jim's father elected to take his own life rather than fall prey to the contagion.
Jim's mother
Seen only briefly, Jim's mother elected to take her own life rather than fall prey to the contagion.
Mark was a survivor who had partnered himself up with Selena. Together, they discovered Jim and took him under their care. Mark became an infected during an attack and Selena was forced to kill him with a machete.
Mister Bridges
Entry yet to be written.
Mister Bridges' daughter
Entry yet to be written.
Private Bedford
Private Bedford was a member of the British Army under the command of Major Henry West. He was killed by Private Mailer who had been infected with the "rage" virus.
Private Bell
Private Bell was a member of the British Army under the command of Major Henry West. He was killed by Private Mailer who had been infected with the "rage" virus.
Private Clifton
Private Clifton was a member of the British Army under the command of Major Henry West. He was killed by Private Mailer who had been infected with the "rage" virus.
Private Davis
Private Davis was a member of the British Army under the command of Major Henry West. He was killed by Private Mailer who had been infected with the "rage" virus.
Private Jones
Private Jones was one of Major West's men. He was present at the compound when Corporal Mitchell and the others were preparing to rape Selena and Hannah. Jim killed Private Jones by running him through with a bayonet.
Private Mailer
Private Mailer was one of Major West's group and was infected with the "rage" virus. West captured him and kept him chained up outside the compound. He wanted to see how long it would take an infected human being to starve to death. Jim set Private Mailer free who then went about attacking the other soldiers. He found Major West in Frank's old taxicab and pulled him out whereupon he killed him.
Selena was one of the survivors of the viral outbreak that had decimated London. The experience hardened her as a person and her sole, driving motivation was survival. Everything else was unimportant. Selena befriended another survivor named Mark, but when Mark became infected, she did not hesitate to cut him down. Selena met another survivor named Jim and tried to help him to stay alive. She warned him though, that like Mark, she would not hesitate to kill him at the first sign of infection. Selena and Jim encountered a father and daughter named Frank and Hannah. Jim wanted to help the family, but Selena believed that they would only slow them down. She reluctantly agreed to allow them to accompany her on an expedition to find a military outpost in Manchester. During the journey, Frank was infected and killed. They reached the outpost, but it was not the haven they believed it would be. A team of soldiers under the command of Major Henry West held Selena and the others as prisoners and West offered Selena to his men for sexual gratification. Jim fought back against them and together, they were able to escape the compound. Selena remained with Jim and Hannah and they lived in a small country cottage where they persisted in making contact with the outside world.
Sergeant Farrell
Sergeant Farrell was one of Major West's men. Unlike the others, he was openly opposed to the treatment of Jim, Selena and Hannah and tried to help them. Farrell was accidentally killed by friendly fire and was succeeded by Corporal Mitchell.

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Eye injuriesFemale topless nudityHead injuriesMale frontal nudityProfanityPseudo-ZombiesScientific experimentationViruses

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