And that's how a masterpiece looks. I guess that I shouldn't have expected any less from the director who made Trainspotting, but you know, when I should give a compliment I will give a compliment. 28 Days Later is our age's Night of the Living Dead, a movie that is so inventive and amazing that everyone tried to copy it, yet it still tops them all.
In short, a group of animal liberation militants free a virus throughout the entirety of Britain, resulting in a zombie apocalypse. The zombies this time are fast, real fast, and scary like they were never before. To that we add the personal horrors of the last act. Oh, and did I mention that it has the same amazing directing touch that Boyle employed in Trainspotting?
And that leads us to the lesson to learn from this movie. Apart from utilizing lessons of identification and beautiful scenery (which makes this movie a textbook example of how to do a high-level horror movie), it practically invented the concept of the fast-zombie.
And the zombies here are fast. Apart from being fast, they are the normal Romero-type zombies, but their greater speed makes them so different, so refreshing, and so terrifying. And that's a pretty good lesson to learn.
I wrote, a long time ago, about ways to make one scene characters unique, utilizing a known, common stereotype and building upon it. Boyle gave the same treatment to his zombies. And we can do the same- when using a known monster, keeping it the same, just like we read or watched hundreds of time, but changing something inherent in it, like the speed of the zombies. Or it might be a vampire that lives on computer data, sucking hard-drives and all the personal folders and documents.
Or we might drive a known characteristic to 11. The zombie isn't slow, it can't move, it just lies there waiting to be found and eat. The vampire isn't burned by sunlight- it explodes when the light touches it. And again, much horror ensues.
Or we might add a characteristic. The vampire can change its looks so he can look like your wife or husband. The zombie can now climb on walls. And these monsters won't ever look the same.
How about you? What have you thought about this movie? And what lessons did you take from it?
(Also published as The Bleeding Scroll's addition to the October Blog Carnival)