Right, lets start this off straight off the bat: 28 Days Later is a zombie movie. You’ll get no detailed review here, we’ve all seen this movie. (Great film, but the sequel is better). What you’ll get is a breakdown of why this is a zombie movie.
“But they’re caused by RAGE, not by being bitten!” “They run fast and chase people, they don’t just shuffle!” or even “They’re not even DEAD, so it can’t be a zombie movie!” All true, but so what?
Zombies have been created by many means over the years, such as:
- Space Radiation : Night of the Living Dead
- Voodoo : Serpent and the Rainbow
- Crazy Scientific Experiments : Re-animator
- Bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey : Braindead
- Toxic Waste : Redneck Zombies
- Alien Slugs : Night of the Creeps
- The Sheer Mundanity Of Life : Shaun of the Dead
This tells us that there is no single ’cause’ for zombies; they can come around in more ways than you can imagine (if we’ve missed any causes off the list do let us know).
If zombies can be caused by anything, how about how the zombies ACT? Do they do anything specific that classify them as zombies?
- Eating people? – Nope, this didn’t start happening until Night of the Living Dead. There were hundreds of zombie movies before this.
- Slowly shuffling around? – Nope, there have been fast zombies back in the 1980’s with Return of the Living Dead
- They speak only in moans? – Nope, films such as I, Zombie or Wasting Away show you can still have a zombie movie where the creatures chat away quite easily.
- Being Dead? – Nope, sometimes you can just become a zombie when you reach a certain age – such as in Stacy, or through Hypnosis as was the case of many pre-Romero era movies (King of the Zombies).
Right, so it’s not how the creatures are caused nor how they act that makes a zombie movie. So what about the setting?
- Well, there are films set before, during and after the apocalypse – see each of the Romero movies for examples here.
- There are Zombie Westerns (Undead or Alive, Quick and the Undead)
- Films set during Daylight (Dead Snow)
- Films set in the Future (Tokyo Zombie)
There are many more, all with totally different settings. So, is there a single overriding similarity between all of these films? Well here it is, here’s the single constant of zombie movies:
They all deal with beings acting against their natural instincts at the detriment of those not affected.
That’s it. That’s all there is. The films generally aren’t actually about the zombies, they’re just a MacGuffin used to get a bunch of humans together with one common goal to see how they cope with each other and with an unrehersed situation. Sometimes this is done to make a serious social / political point, sometimes for laughs, sometimes for scares and sometimes even for pure sleazy titillation. However the ghouls themselves are the same whether they’re chasing after you with rage in their eyes or shuffling around slowly in the background for you to simply walk right past. Does it really matter where they came from, what they do or how fast they move?
Gore Score C
Norks Score F
Originality Score A
Overall Score B
(We would have rated it higher than this overall, but only scored 28 weeks later a B and that’s a better film that this original)