I never really like zombies growing up. I was never really exposed to much in the way of the horror genre. Then, in early 2003, while in my college dorm room I downloaded a copy of “28 Days Later” from the illegal repository on the dorm’s intranet. 15 minutes in, mind blown. Full on zombie convert.
Die hard zombie fans don’t consider 28 Days Later a zombie film. It is like a hybrid outbreak/apocalyptic scenario film. But it is notable as a piece of zombie fiction for several reasons:
1 – It made me fall in love with zombie fiction. It painted a world where we, as humans, are no longer the dominant form of life on planet earth. It made me believe in the vastness of that world. Go watch the first 15 minutes and tell me those shots are not amazing.
2 – It really called upon the first true piece of Zombie fiction, “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, for inspiration. Matheson wasn’t attempting to write a zombie novel because those didn’t exist, but this 1952 novel directly led to the creation of Romero’s “Night Of The Living Dead”. Much like Legend, 28 Days stretches its “zombie science” around the feeling and story that was being conveyed to the audience. The rules of zombie fiction don’t apply when you are trying to give an uneasy tension of loneliness in a vast world.
3 – It is directed by Danny Boyle. The same guy who did Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and Sunshine. ‘Nuff said.
4 – The opening of 28 Days Later was ripped off by the biggest zombie franchise ever – The Walking Dead. Kirkman says this isn’t true but I think it is. <— inserted meaningless conspiracy theory.
#4 doesn’t need to be in there. I just put it there because it is a fun fact.