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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 17:08 GMT
28 Days Later
28 Days Later

Newsnight Review discussed the new horror film "28 Days Later" on Friday 1st November 2002.

Writer Alex Garland and Director Danny Boyle have created a movie about a raging virus about to wipe out Britain.

(Edited highlights of the panel's review)


KIRSTY WARK:
Mark, six digital video cameras. Is it a good zombie movie?

MARK KERMODE:
Well I liked it, as somebody who once thought of Danny Boyle as the future of the British film industry I was very disappointed by the mainstream American meanderings of The Beach.

This seemed like him coming home to good old British values of anger, hatred, loathing and paranoia. It's a good nasty horror movie. Britain was once the great creator of horror films.

It's not technically a zombie movie, although it's clearly the work of somebody who has seen all the Living Dead and Romero movies, has read HG Wells, has watched those TV disaster soaps like Survivors and Threads, and basically cannibalised that body of science fiction and spewed out something different.

On the one hand, you have the video format which Boyle has managed to do something exciting with. He has a very kinetic, very frenetic style. Those cameras are lightweight and you can get an enormous sense of movement with them.

KIRSTY WARK:
Tom Paulin, London laid as wasteland, silent dead streets. It was quite an affecting start?

TOM PAULIN:
Absolutely. I thought a tremendous start, the silence of this deserted London. It was like the Spielberg, which from our point of view was post-September 11th, Minority Report.

I thought it was very powerful, we got this post-modern anxiety we all feel. Third world war about to happen. Consumerism, end of the world quality. Marvellous.

KIRSTY WARK:
Germaine?

GERMAINE GREER:
I hated every minute of it. First of all, I didn't believe one word. Beginning with the Cambridge primate research laboratory where the animals were in tiny cages. The primates are treated better than the patients in local hospitals in Cambridge.

They lost me then. It got worse. Here is the guy who gets knocked off his bike, is unconscious for 28 days and he remembers the accident. The first piece of bullshit. Secondly, he picks up a newspaper that's going to explain to him what's happened, reads the headline and drops it.

It goes on like this. He is the stupidest hero in the history of film-making. And I will tell you something else, if this place was full of some rotten virus, we wouldn't get rescued. We would get nuked.

If this is as black or angry as it was supposed to be, it was just a B grade horror movie. Three-and-a-half million came from the Lottery fund. I am furious about this film. It's a piece of steaming schlock.

MARK KERMODE:
All the things you are taking issue with the whole of apocalyptic sci-fi. None of it wouldn't make any sense, The Omega Man wouldn't make any sense, Planet of the Apes wouldn't make any sense.

GERMAINE GREER:
What makes you thing that any of it does make sense?

MARK KERMODE:
Because it's a generic convention, in the same way, tragedy doesn't make sense. People about to commit suicide don't do Hamlet speeches about to be or not to be.

They have used a convention to redefine what the modern horror movie should be, and they have done it convincingly.

KIRSTY WARK:
There have been a few pelters for the dialogue. Did you think the dialogue was memorable?

TOM PAULIN:
I didn't mind about the dialogue at all. I just got increasingly worried about it. There is also a great parody of consumption. Wind farm was wonderful. Flower farm is brilliant.

KIRSTY WARK:
There is a lovely shot when they were going along the motorway and there were these wind farms.

GERMAINE GREER:
What was the point of it exactly?


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