Few horror movies can claim to have “changed the game” but 28 Days Later did just that when it was released on this day in 2002. It was the beginning of a zombie subgenre resurgence when Danny Boyle’s film (directed from a screenplay penned by Alex Garland) blurred the line between established tropes and virus horror, resulting in a phenomenon that would be regarded as both controversial and revolutionary: Fast zombies.
If it’s been a while, or if you’ve never experienced the bleak tableau of 28 Day Later, give the trailer and synopsis a spin below.
A group of misguided animal rights activists free a caged chimp infected with the “Rage” virus from a medical research lab. When London bike courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma a month after, he finds his city all but deserted. On the run from the zombie-like victims of the Rage, Jim stumbles upon a group of survivors, including Selena (Naomie Harris) and cab driver Frank (Brendan Gleeson), and joins them on a perilous journey to what he hopes will be safety.
Danny Boyle and Naomie Harris developed a back-story to explain Selena’s hard-nosed, ruthlessly pragmatic outlook. Apparently, Selena was forced to kill her infected mother and father to save her baby brother, only to discover that her brother was also infected. (Source)
Alex Garland and Danny Boyle did a great deal of research into social unrest, drawing ideas from things that had happened in Rwanda and Sierra Leone (such as the piling of bodies inside churches), but drew the line at using any actual footage from such incidents in the opening montage. All footage featuring dead bodies/desecration of bodies was faked. (Source)