28 Days Later on DVD – The DVDfever Review

28 Days Later

Animal rights activists break into a lab where monkeys are being tested on, attack the scientist (I’m Alan Partridge‘s Tony Hayers, David Schneider) and release the caged creatures. However, they’ve been deliberately infected with ‘Rage’ and letting them out of their enforced home is not a good idea…

28 Days Later, Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in his hospital bed and is surprised to find there’s no-one in the building. In fact, as he dresses up in standard issue blue hospital pyjamas and steps outside he realises there’s no-one in the whole of London either.

Alas, what starts with promise soon goes downhill and just seems effectively pointless. Jim chances across a couple of freedom fighters, Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley), who inform him the country is ravaged by the Infected – zombies whose only mission is to infected those who are still okay. They come across more Infected to dispatch, meet up with Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Megan Burns) and set off to find more uninfected people.

As (bad) luck would have it, the only ones they find are mad Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston) and his men. Their only hope is finding a way out of the country, since, while England may be lacking in life and electricity, other countries are living normal lives.

The first film I saw this, in 2003 on DVD, I could not take to it, but on seeing it again in May 2024 on the big screen at the Odeon, it packed a massive punch and I loved it! My updated score for the film is below.

Shot on DV digital cameras, this is one that’s well-filmed and brings across the dead landscape very effectively. Presented in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen, there’s no problems with the image and it looks good when the image is treated such that frames are missing to convey a sense of panic during fast motion.

Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, there are also sound moments that’ll make you jump out of your skin such as 26 minutes into the film – the surprise of which I’ll leave for you to find out – but I had the volume way up high as the scene content was quiet and I had a fan running in the same room during the hot summer. The volume then deafened and I reached for the control so as not to disturb the neighbours any more than I had!

The extras are very thin on the ground:

  • Deleted Scenes (14 mins): 7 scenes, all with optional commentary from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland. Some are extended or alternate scenes rather than just deleted. Strangely these are all in 4:3, and the video quality for “Hospital Dream”, “Floorboard”, “Taxi/Sweden” and “London Walk” are severly screwed and look jumpy. The audio is way out too.

  • Alternate Ending (2½ mins):Largely what we’ve seen already but with one difference, to detail which would be a spoiler.

  • Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later (24 mins): Presented in 1.85:1 letterbox, the cast and crew waffle on about their thoughts of the film, with film clips mixed in. However, this ‘making of’ is practically unwatchable as when the talking heads talk, the camera is either purposely blurry or zooms in randomly. FFS! Just point the camera at the subject and film them. Don’t try and be ‘hip and cool’ like a film student – it just looks shit.

  • Galleries (18 and 4 mins): Two here, both with commentary. One features pictures taken by the stills photographer who was on set the entire time, the second featuring polaroids taken for continuity purposes.

  • Marketing: A teaser trailer (90 seconds, 1.85:1 letterbox), theatrical trailer (2 mins, 1.85:1 letterbox), Animated storyboards from the UK website (90 secs) and the Jacknife Lee music video which is just clips from the film set to the dance track (6½ mins, 4:3)

  • Audio commentary: A feature-length commentary with Danny Boyle and Alex Garland.

The disc is also inflicted with a few bloody-annoying trailers that you’re forced to sit through the second the disc boots up as if it was a rental title. However, at least with this disc you can fast-forward through them.

The film contains 32 chapters, subtitles are available in English and Swedish and the main menu is animated and scored with a looped piece of music from the film.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 113 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Cat.no: 24238DVD
Year: 2002
Released: May 19th 2003
Region(s): 2, PAL
Chapters: 25
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English
Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired, Swedish
Widescreen: 1.85:1
16:9-Enhanced: Yes
Macrovision: Yes
Disc Format: DVD 9

Director: Danny Boyle
Producer: Andrew Macdonald
Screenplay: Alex Garland
Music: John Murphy

Jim: Cillian Murphy
Selena: Naomie Harris
Hannah: Megan Burns
Mark: Noah Huntley
Major Henry West: Christopher Eccleston
Private Mailer: Marvin Campbell
Frank: Brendan Gleeson
Scientist: David Schneider