DVD review: 28 DAYS LATER
by David Blackwell
I have heard so much praise about 28 DAYS LATER and the previews wanted me to see this movie. I finally saw the movie on
DVD and I wasn't disappointed by this interesing but flawed movie. No, it isn't a sequel to the Sandra Bullock movie, 28 DAYS.
This movie has nothing to do with that movie as much as my imagination wonders how Sandra would deal with zombies and how
bad that movie would have been compared to what I watched.
28 DAYS LATER opens with some animal righst activists who break into a building where experiments are being performed on
monkeys. Despite the warning from one of the scientits, they let loose one of the monkeys who are infected by a highly contagious
disease of Rage that only takes one drop (of blood or saliva) to infect a person. Lesson number one- don't let test animals
out of their cages despite any good intentions because the animals might be infected with something contagious.
Next, the movie flashes forward to 28 days later when Jim, a bicycle courier, awakes in a hospital to find it deserted.
He ventures out of the hospital to find London deserted. He soon learns that the city has been evacuated. Jim ventures into
a church and runs after an encounter with some infected people (who want to kill him). He is saved by two people (one being
a woman called Selene). Lesson number 2- if a city seems deserted, don't go into dark places. He learns from them that Greta
Britain has been infected by the Rage and many people have killed others.
Jim manages to do another stupid thing after he, Selene, and teh other guy go to find out what happened to Jim's parents.
Selene has to kill the other guy because she belives he has become infected after an attack by the Infected at Jim's parents
house. Jim and Selene flee the house in the dark ( don't travel during the night unless you have to), and soon find shelter
with a father and his daughter, Hannah. During the next day, the four travel out of London in a taxi cab in search of a place
near Manchester that promises a cure in a recorded radio broadcast. They encounter some Army men who might be just as dangerous
as the Infected.
28 DAYS LATER is one of the better movies I have seen this year. It is from director Danny Boyle (who directed TRAINSPOTTING)
with a screenplay by novelist Alex Garland. This movie is a dark sci-fi/horror/drama (that echoes such works as NIGHT OF THE
LIVING DEAD and THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS) and was shot in digital video that lend an eerie quality to the movie.
There are problems with the movie like the lead character is stupid until he decides to grow some balls near the end of
the movie. In another scene, the group come across a supermarket that still has poer (despite it being said that there is
no power). As evidenced by the deleted scenes (with the Red Cross Subway Train scene being one of the most interesting) and
listening to the commentary, there had to be some comprimises made due to budget limitations for one. 28 DAYS LATER is a movie
that has some unrealized ideas, but it is an interesting movie nonetheless. I found the still photo gallery with commentary
to be one of the most interesting features on the DVD (note: they were able to have a still photographer during the whole
shoot of the movie). There is a 25 minutes behind the scenes featurette,"Pure Reage: The Making of 28 Days Later", that is
a promotional piece that more focuses on how easy it would be for an epidemic to spread across the world that how the movie
Rounding out the DVD are the 28 DAYS LATER trailers and three alternate endings (including the origianl UK ending). One
ending is a variation of the US theaterical ending expanding from the origianl UK ending. After viewinvg the first two endings,
you finally get access to a radically different ending (told in storyboards with commentary since this ending was never shot)
where they don't meete up with the military (but fails after it is told how the Rage can be cured). If you're looking for
something good or something terrifying, watch 28 DAYS LATER. I know I will probably watch it again.
DVD review: THE EYE
by David Blackwell
THE EYE is about a 20 year old woman, Mun, who lost her sight at the age of 2, and she has a cornea transplant that makes
her see again. When she does have her sight back, she begins to see mysterious shadowy black figures. Since she doesn't recognize
things or people, she mistakes dead people for living. She begins to become terrified by the things she sees when she realizes
some people she sees are dead. A psychotherapist helps her on her quest to find out who she got the eyes from.
At first, there is nothing special about THE EYE for the first 30 minutes, but then it starts to set itself apart from
other movies that have covered the subject of someone who sees dead people/ghosts. The Pang Brothers know when to amp up the
terror in certain scenes and also show how Mun is poorly coping with the things she sees. This isn't Hollywood tripe like
THE SIXTH SENSE which gets boring after one viewing (or boring on first viewing depending on who you talk to). I like the
approach of the story that shows some people don't deal well with seeing ghosts especially when you have been blind for the
most of your life. The music and cinemaphotography are great for this movie and help build the effectiveness of some of the
most terrifying scenes. The actors sell believable performances in this movie. Kudos go out to Lee Sin-Je for the life she
breathes intot he chaarcter of Mun.
After I watched the movie, I watched the short 15 minute "Making of The Eye" featurette on the DVD and found out some of
the things that happen in the movie have been experienced by others in real life (and even the scene in the climax is something
that really happened in Asia). I begin to understand that weaving fact with fiction helps makes THE EYE terrifying.
It is good as (or even better than) RINGU (aka THE RING- the original Japanese version). With movies like DOUBLE VISION and
THE EYE, it makes you wonder why isn't Hollywood making horror movies as good as the horror movies coming from Asia (and even
Europe). I shudder with terror as I wonder if the US remake of THE EYE will be a disappoint (Tom Cruise's production company
has the remake rights). I hope I'm wrong, but a voice in my head is waiting to tell me the original usually is better.
these reviews are (c)2003 David Blackwell. reprint of any article or review is forbidden (and violates my copyright)without
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