Tuesday, May 15, 2007

There's just something beautifully tragic about carpet bombing a city to protect yourself from zombies

28 Days Later is one of the best movies I've never gotten around to seeing again. Seriously. Top of the list. Right up there with that other movie I loved and never got around to watching again. You know, the one with that guy. Right, and the girl, and they do that thing. Loved it. With the live octopus! Awesome. I totally need to watch it again.

You see, it's in that echelon of flicks, man. Top tier. It's like the Grey Goose of movies and here I was, expecting a Mohawk kind of sequel. Wow was I wrong.

It starts in a cottage. There's this group of people struggling to survive. It's unknown how long they've been there. Hell, the way they have the house boarded up there's no indication of what time of day it is! It all seems pretty secure. They've obviously been there for some time and have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. Until the neighbor kid shows up. Fucking fucktard gets them to open the door! What's wrong with you people! Kids can't fend for themselves. You now have to look out for them AND yourself. And you know what that means? Do you? No? Let me tell you, it means that when the zombies bust through your goddamn windows, someone you love is going to DIE to protect some strange kid who eats all your pasta without a fucking fork. That's what it means!

Over the river and through the woods...

Luckily for our story, Robert Carlyle (aka Don) manages to escape leaving the wreckage of his shelter and life behind in a beautifully shot chase through the English countryside. And as we roll the opening credits we learn that we're 15 days into the initial infection. The credits also serve to bring you up to date. London has been cleared of zombies and the US Army is in charge.

It's been six months since the outbreak and people are slowly starting to be brought back into London. Among the first groups are two kids. They're Don's kids. And while the military's chief medical officer isn't a fan of the idea, they're being reunited with their dad. It's not that she's some frigid bitch who hates kids or anything, it's just that, well, kids act like kids. They do dumb shit that you can't plan for...like BREAK QUARANTINE TO FIND PICTURES OF THEIR DEAD MOM!

Exactly. Stupid fucking kids. See. This is what happens. They just think they can get away with whatever they want. By breaking quarantine they manage to find their mom. Infected, but not dead and not as zombied (yes zombied, I said it. I'm making my own words as I need them today) as the others. The military is perplexed but not curious enough to want to keep her alive. The kids, however, are super pissed. See, dad told them he saw mom die and that there was nothing that he could do. So, he has to go try to see her, you know, to make amends. Which he does. And the retard KISSES her! Who kisses a zombie? What the fuck is wrong with you? Kissing exchanges saliva, so you know what happens now Don? Do you? You're fucked. That's what happens now! You go on a bloody rampage. Now get out of here! Ok, fine. Kill your wife first. Ok, crush her eyes with your thumbs. Are you done? Ok, good. Get out of here. Go on a rampage that looks like a Radiohead music video.

Of course the military has a plan. And since it's a movie being made in 2007 and it's the US military it's god-fucking-awful. Hear me out. Lets round up as many civilians as we can. Now lets crowd them all into a goddamn subway stop, you with me? Good. Now, lock the goddamn door they went in through. Just that one. Not the side door. Next? Cut the lights. This way, when Zombi-fucking-fied Don all too conveniently finds his kid the shitstorm can begin with the most possible carnage!

(By the way, if the military ever, EVER tries to protect you from a zombie attack by herding you into a small space with your neighbors like cattle...make them shoot you. I't bound to be more pleasant than what's too come. Also, introduce yourself to everyone you can. There's no telling who the main character is in a situation like that and your odds of survival increase dramatically if the audience knows your name.)

Thank god there are snipers and machine guns outside. Not that it does any goddamn good, but at least they're trying. The kids manage to escape death with the help of the medical officer, a sniper named Doyle and a handful of stranger who don't get names since they'll be dead soon anyways.

The plan from here is to catch a ride from a friendly helicopter pilot and get to France or something. The problem is that there's a shit ton of zombies and the pilot's sense of duty in the way. So, just a few minor fucking roadblocks. Oh, and there's the inevitable face off with dad. That doesn't seem obvious at any point in the movie. At all. Ever.

If you didn't get the vodka analogy, you've obviously puked on the side of Detroit's freeways a few less times than me, but that's okay, I'll be a little less veiled in my praise. I liked this movie. As sequels go, really good. As zombie movies go, really good. I walked out of there feeling sorry for the Day of the Dead remake, because you have to stop and think, how many good zombie flicks can really come out in a year? Not enough. That's how many.

There were a lot of chase scenes, which makes sense, but chases can get boring. Luckily they did a wonderful job of shooting the chases to keep them not only interesting but pleasing to look at. I mean, there was something in the camera work that was just beautiful about them. Visually captivating. There we go. That's a good phrase for it.

The tone is worth mentioning too. Where the first movie oozed isolation from every frame, this one has a much different tone. London doesn't feel desolate and abandoned. It feels desperate and afraid. The streets don't feel empty, they feel feral. There's just this feeling of hopelessness that seems to permeate the film.

Robert Carlyle was great. From loving husband, to coward to brave and caring father to loving husband to zombie, the man did it all. Catherine McCormack was great as well. Episode II's Rose Byrne was good as the medical officer and Jeremy Renner was great as the hooker with the heart of gold. Sniper. Not hooker. Sorry.

And the two kids! Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton. Good enough actors, but more importantly, read those names again! If I were them, I'd probably hate my parents and hide my birth certificate!

My biggest complaints were 1) the ending. It was a little less open ended than I would have liked. (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, less is more sometimes, my friend, less is more. It's okay to simply imply things). And 2) Robert Carlyle's over use. He kept popping up in the most coincidentally convenient places. I mean, he's this zombie and he's on a mad dash for food and mayhem (or whatever these rage filled zombies want) and he keeps popping up near his kids (his son specifically). It was too unlikely. It just didn't really work for me.

Minor flaws aside, this was a great movie. And I have to say that I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first movie, zombie movies or horror movies in general. All and all, it's a solid 8 code reds executed from within your secure bunker out of 10.


Nik! said...

I'm really horrible at math and I was trying not to read it too many times, as to not spoil myself, but I think the f's still are in higher quantity.

Yes, I'm that amused at work today that I counted, twice. I used two highlighters.