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YMMV / 28 Days Later

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Major Henry West really a Manipulative Bastard, or is he a good man driven insane by the situation surrounding him?
    • The rest of the soldiers too. Are they really driven mad and gone monstrous enough to rape innocent women? How many of them would have actually gone through with it? Some theorise that they may have raped Selena but would have stopped short of raping Hannah too. Notably one of the soldiers is seen shaking his head sadly as they leave Hannah and Selena to change.
  • Applicability: The last part of the film involves an Irish man massacring a number of British soldiers portrayed as the real monsters of the story. He also does this to save a black woman and a working class girl (all three examples of oppressed people within British society, though there is a black soldier too). In an upper class mansion no less! The Token Good Teammate of the soldiers is also Scottish.
    • Although this would overlaps with Death of the Author, but YouTuber Huntress X. Thompson gave an absurdist interpretation of the somewhat Broken Aesop Focus Group Ending, where Jim, Selena, and Hannah waves their hands at a Finnish fighter jet flying above for the rescue even after they faced some abuses from their own country's military, as Full-Circle Revolution after the hierarchical status-quo has fallen down. It raises a question to the viewers: "Wouldn't it be fucked up if people didn't learn from history or from their own past experiences?"
  • Awesome Music: "In the House, In a Heartbeat," a steadily increasing anxiety attack of a song that perfectly matches the climax.
    • The film also uses "East Hastings" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor to haunting effect in the beginning, as Jim wanders the deserted streets of London.
  • Broken Base:
    • Go up to a group of fans of this movie and ask one simple question - 'is 28 Days Later a zombie movie?' Then stand back and watch the ensuing punch-up.
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    • The third act revolving around the soldiers. Some fans hate the fact that the film takes a break from the infected to focus on Jim trying to stop Hannah and Selena from being raped - while others feel that it's a great direction to take the story in. A large amount of Danny Boyle's films - The Beach, Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine feature a seemingly insignificant plot element coming into the forefront to be the main conflict of the third act - so fans can't agree on whether it works or not.
    • Fans tend to go overboard blaming either the activists or the scientists completely. The scientists are the ones who created a deadly virus that ended up causing a nationwide catastrophe, and kept it contained in a facility with very poor security. By contrast, the activists are both violent and very poorly informed about what they're actually doing, and refuse to listen to the scientist at all. And they are the ones who let the virus loose.
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    • Is Jim a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass? Or just a moron of a chav thrown into an extreme flight or fight response that makes him snap in a vicious fashion? It doesn't help his character as his idiocy gets Action Survivor Mark killed, requires constant babysitting, and very nearly drags Selena down with him. Hero or Villain, everyone dies around him. This is one of the reasons why some fans prefer the alternate ending where he dies, and the film poetically ends where his journey all started - in a hospital.
  • Delusion Conclusion: The presence of a deleted ending in which Jim dies from the gunshot wound inflicted in the finale has led some viewers to theorize that the happy canonical ending is just a Dying Dream or perhaps even an afterlife.
  • Ending Fatigue: For "surviving the apocalypse" movie fans, this movie starts off great but then makes a hard left midway through, sticking the main characters with the soldiers who take the forefront as antagonists and carries a different tone to match.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Fridge Logic: The main reason why the "Radical Alternate Ending", which would’ve involved a blood transfusion as a way to cure the rage virus, wasn’t used in favor of what was shown in the final film.
    Danny Boyle: "And that was the problem right there with this ending. We established that one drop in the eye can infect someone, then how in the flying fuck are we gonna sell that the idea that this blood transfusion idea was gonna work? What do you do, clean out every capillary and vein with bleach?"
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Selena's cold and cynical attitude is explained in a backstory that Naomie Harris and Danny Boyle came up with together: she had to kill her whole family in one afternoon, including an infected little brother. Knowing this makes her reaction to Frank's death even harder to take, as she's suddenly going through it all over again.
    • The iconic scenes of Jim wandering around a deserted London are eerily prescient of the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 which saw London streets largely empty as a result of lockdown (brought on by a virus, no less).
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: There is something heartwarming about three then-unknown actors playing people trying to survive in an After the End scenario - now with the hindsight that all three are now established in the film business.
  • Ho Yay: Mixed with some Foe Yay in that Henry seems really fond of Jim, constantly touching him, and while he promises women for his soldiers, he himself doesn't seem that interested in them beyond some vague rambling about "The Future".
  • It Was His Sled: The message is a fake and the soldiers are just looking for a chance to rape the women.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Major Henry West reveals that he put the announcement on the blockade solely to attract female survivors - and that he's going to allow his men to do whatever they want with Selena and Hannah. This of course solidifies him as the new antagonist.
  • Older Than They Think: The idea that a contagion could turn the populous into red-eyed murderous psychopaths was around since the 1994 video game Quarantine. Both experiments had Gone Horribly Wrong from their original purposes as rage suppressors, into something quite the opposite of an inhibitor. The only difference is the film uses a virus whereas the game uses a behavior altering chemical.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The film's four leads went on to bigger things.
  • Spiritual Licensee: This is a pretty good adaptation of The Day of the Triffids, don't you think? Both are set After the End and start with the protagonist waking up alone in a hospital and emerging into an abandoned London.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • The researcher who couldn't come up with a more convincing explanation for why the animals shouldn't be let out of the cages other than "Rage". "Oh hey, they're carrying a highly infectious and dangerous disease we're studying for god knows what horrible reason" might have been just a wee bit more convincing.
    • Jim stumbles into a church where its entire nave is filled with bloodied corpses, he stares at the bodies for what seems like an eternity. Then utters "Hallo?" which of course, gets no response but instead attracts the attention of several infected.
    • Jim wanders off from the group into a restaurant when they stop to get gas. Selena reminds him they have enough food, he sarcastically says he's looking for cheeseburgers - but he ends up getting attacked and having to kill an infected child.
    • Jim decides to light a candle in his house while standing near a window. This is after he has been brought up to speed on the state of the world and how the infected are everywhere outside. This ends up getting Mark killed when the infected burst in and he gets injured, forcing Selena to put him down before he can turn.
  • Win Back the Crowd: A meta example, this was one of many movies from the early 2000’s often seen by horror fans as a return to form for the genre after it was criticized in the mid to late 90’s for focusing too much on the self aware, teenager oriented meta angle, while lacking in true scares and suspense.


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