Every generation gets the Zombie it deserves.
Say goodbye to the lumbering, slack-jawed meat puppets of yesteryear, with their quaint but crude methods of ingestion and transmission. No longer must we suffer the indignity of being partially eaten or even killed before we turn to the Dark Side. The Undead have become The Infected. Zombies have gone viral, baby, and they attack with the quickness of Usain Bolt. All it takes is a drop of their blood in an unprotected orifice and then no coctail of drugs in the world can save you.
We have 2002's 28 Days Later to thank for this shift in the zombie paradigm. Sure, other films contributed to the movement, but nothing codified on quite the same scale or budget. This is also due to the generational cred the film's creators carried with them into its making. Director Danny Boyle could have stopped at Trainspotting and earned himself mention in any survey of postmodern cultural touchstones. The same could be said for writer Alex Garland, whose first novel The Beach (subsequently filmed by Danny Boyle) was the cult book of 1996. The pair has gone on to collaborate twice more--on the aforementioned Beach and an underrated sci-fi thinker called Sunshine--but nothing so far has cohered quite as well as their first.
I'm actually not a very big fan of zombie movies. Very few of them frighten me, and so most fail to meet my criteria for quality horror. With that said, I think 28 Days Later is about as good as a zombie film can hope to be. Thanks to a talented cast headed up by the ice-eyed Cillian Murphy, the characters are sympathetic and believable. They are also quite savvy and make blessedly few of the stupid mistakes that plague so many of these movies. Boyle's trendsetting choice to shoot the film with digital cameras gives 28 Days the grainy and aptly blown-out look of war footage. The final third loses focus, and turns a bit gung-ho, but all in all I was about as satisfied with this film last night as I was when I first saw it in the theater.
Well, folks, here endeth the official term on my 30 Days of Night(mares), though I'm sure I'll be feeling its effects for weeks to come. Thanks to those that bothered to read along. I'm sure I missed a few horror films worth watching (The Others, in particular, probably deserved a spot on this list) and would love to hear from anybody who has one in mind. Should you care to continue sampling my bloggerel, you can continue to check back here at Hinterzone where, from time to time, I'll continue to add reviews of films, books, and music. Also, please visit me over at Portecho, my other blog, where (Halloween fixations aside) I will focus on computers, electronics, and and bits of home entertainment technology.
Scorecard (out of ten skulls):
My psychological status: