Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys. In this episode we’re talking about 2002’s 28 Days Later and 2007’s 28 Weeks Later
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We start by briefly discussing what we’ve done lately involving horror. We discuss Shudder’s new series Cursed Films, and how revealing the episode on Poltergeist was. Liam talks about seeing the film Underwater and Justin talks about seeing the films Vivarium and M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters) the review of which by Cinepunx’s own Annamarie Benson can be read here.
Up first is 28 Days Later. We begin by talking about our initial experience with the film when it was first released, and the hype around the film as “the scariest film since The Exorcist.” We talk about how the film kicked off the modern “zombie” craze and how it made Danny Boyle “a thing”, the fact that the film was one of the first films that was shot on digital video, and the soundtrack contribution of post rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. We discuss the fact that despite the film undoubtedly horrific in nature it remains a hopeful and optimistic film. Justin talks about how the films affected him so much it shaped his views on direct action and animal liberation.
The intensity of the performance in the opening scene is touched upon. Some of the more intense and emotional moments of the film are discussed, and Justin talks about how it is the elements of sadness and tragedy that stick with him more than the actual horror. Christopher Eccleston’s character and his cynical, nihilistic nature as the true villain are discussed. The concept of how simple it is in the film to become an “other” as opposed to having to die in the classic Romero films is discussed, as is the somewhat more unsettling idea of these things just wanting to kill you as opposed to the desire to eat you in the Romero films.
The simplicity of the film as a thought experiment of what would happen if inhibitions were removed from society and the social contract no longer applied. Some of the filming techniques and how it makes the infected seem slightly inhuman are discussed, as is the technique used to make the ending seem surreal and dreamlike. We talk about some of the few things we dislike about the film and how the movie was made for relatively little and made a ton of money. The length to which Boyle stretched the budget and how effective he was in getting shots of an abandoned downtown London.
The film’s character development and how effective it is in getting us to care about these characters is touched upon. John Murphy’s “In The House In A Heartbeat” and how iconic the song has become is touched upon. We return to the concept that the film ultimately is about hope and the widening of a narrow worldview.
The idea that the film is uniquely English in that England is the only place this specific film could work is touched upon; we talk about the comic book series by Boom! Studios, and we conclude by discussing the idea of how the Rage epidemic was initially ignored by people in metropolitan areas and how it relates to the tendency of Western society to ignore serious social problems until they boil over i.e. our current situation with COVID-19.
Up next is 28 Weeks Later. We start by odd it is that it took five years to make a sequel to a film that was as wildly successful as the first one. We talk about how effective the opening sequence is and how it sets an unrealistic level of expectations for the rest of the film.
We talk about our first experiences with the film, and the phenomenon of people somehow knowing what they would do in a hypothetical horrific situation. We talk about how it unfortunately undoes what the first film does. We discuss how the film seems to want to adhere to rules of more traditional “zombie” films as opposed to blazing its own path like the first film did.
Liam talks about how the film declines so rapidly in quality he’s only watched it ones since first seeing it. Some of the more unreasonable aspects of the film are touched upon i.e. Robert Carlyle’s character somehow having total security clearance, the U.S. military making the irrational decision to put everyone in one giant undefended room, etc.
The filmmaker’s decision to use several high-profile actors and how that is a weakness is discussed. The films nihilistic and cynical tone is criticized, as is the choice to make the infected strangely superhuman. The lack of emotional weight and tension is touched upon, and we talk about how unlike the first film in which bad things happen even though people by and large reasonable decisions the second film consistently makes unreasonable decisions.
The film’s rewriting of the rules that the first film establishes for dramatic effect is discussed as is the influence of Land Of The Dead on it. We talk at length about the film’s unnecessary cruelty and meanness and how it stands in stark contrast to the first film. The lack of care from the filmmakers towards the film making sense is touched upon. We conclude by unfortunately realizing we didn’t really enjoy the film.
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