Sunday, July 13, 2003

28 Days Later...

I've just watched this film on video, and thought it was an entertaining way to spend 90 minutes or so. The premise is that a super-infectious virus which makes its victims highly aggressive, is released accidentally by animal rights activists. 28 days later, there are very few uninfected people left in Britain, and a small group of people who have found each other attempt to survive against the marauding killer zombies.

It's a cut above your average zombie film, but the pretensions of the makers go far beyond finding a plausible hook for another horror movie. They really think they're saying something important about how a pandemic could affect the country. This is illustrated in Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later... in which the producer, director and various experts assure us that another 'Big One' is just round the corner.

Well, no it isn't. As SARS showed, new infections will crop up from time to time, particularly where humans interact closely with animals in one way or another. But, even without a known cure, proper public health measures can bring such infections under control. It is claimed that 25 percent of world deaths are caused by infectious disease - but many of those diseases are effectively diseases of poverty, like gastroenteritis, that should kill only rarely.

The movie was entertaining, the promo video was utterly galling.

Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later (Real Player format)

(There is also an interesting point about the nature of the threat in 28 Days Later which Brendan O'Neill makes in his review of the film.)

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