25 May 2016

ZOMBIE FILM RULES - 28 Days Later (2002)

Every genre has cliches, but how well do films without undead follow the Zombie film rules?

A Rage Virus escapes in the UK, leading to the collapse of society and a fight for survival for a handful of uninfected.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for

28 Days Later (2002)


There will be no warning...

"It started as rioting. And right from the beginning you knew this was different, because it was happening in small villages, market towns, and then, it wasn't on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming through your windows." ~ Selena.

1a.  Eerie - The films starts with news footage of civil unrest.  The scenes of abandoned London streets early in the film add to the eerie feel.
1b.  News - None shown.
1c.  Sudden - For the main character, the outbreak is sudden, as he awakes from a coma a month after it occurs.


There may be sex and nudity.

"I promised them women." ~ Major Henry West.

2a.  Nudity - Jim, the main character is introduced with full frontal male nudity, and later is shown naked from behind when showering.  Selena is stripped of her shirt by the soldiers.  A naked infected female is shown topless.
2b.  Sex - Jim and Selena don't have sex (that we see) but they do kiss a few times.  The soldiers were planing to rape Selena and Hannah, but it doesn't happen.


Unknown cause.

"In order to cure. You must understand." ~ Unnamed scientist.
"Infected with what?"~ Unnamed animal rights activist.
"Rage." ~ Unnamed scientist.

3a.  Unknown origin - The origin is known.

3b.  Vague hints - Directly referenced.
3c.  The originators - The film's prologue makes it clear that scientists created this disease and animal rights protesters caused it to be released.


The Living Dead.

"Sorry I lost my temper.  Hannah, I love you very much." ~ Frank.
"What?" ~ Hannah.
"Keep away from me. Stay where you are." ~ Frank.
"Dad?" Hannah.

The Infected are not zombies as defined by being living dead, they are, however, mindless humans who in many ways act like living dead zombies.

4a.  Dead - The infected are very clearly not dead, but rather infected with a rage virus.
4b.  Rising from the grave - Does not occur.
4c.  Instant decay - They are not decayed.  They do, however, immediately start bleeding from the eyes, nose and mouth and have blood-filled eyes.  At the 56 day mark they are looking dirty and emaciated, almost zombie-like.
4d.  Origin - See above.
4e.  Spread - Bite or blood from the infected getting in your mouth or eye.
4f.  Rudimentary IQ - Little to no IQ.  Can't even seem to feed themselves.
4g.  Rudimentary speech - No speech, just snarling, hissing and screaming.
4h.  Lost memory - No indication of any memory of their lives.
4i.  Slow/Shambling - A go-to example for fast moving infected.
4j.  Swarms - They do travel in swarms.
4k.  Stealth zombies - Mostly too noisy, but one ran at Jim at the petrol stop and almost caught him off-guard.
4l.  Feeding - They don't seem to feed on the uninfected, just kill or infect them.  They don't seem to feed at all, dying of starvation at the end.
4m.  Destroy the brains - Standard killing of humans, but they may last a little longer.
4n.  Exploding heads - None, but an infect does explode after stepping on a landmine.
4o.   The Z Word - Not used, obviously, because they aren't dead.  The term "infected" is used often, sometimes just as a verb, but regularly as a noun naming the victims of the disease as the "Infected."


The Living.

Look, if someone gets infected you've got between ten and twenty seconds to kill them. It might be your brother, or your sister, or your oldest friend. It makes no difference. And just so you know where you stand, if it happens to you, I'll do it in a heartbeat." ~ Selena.

5a.  Individuals - Initially focuses on a single survivor (in a coma when it happened), who joins up with a pair of survivors in London (Mark and Selena) then, after Mark's death, another pair (Frank and Megan).
5b.  Group of survivors - They joins a group of soldiers who aren't good people.
5c.  Characters - The main group will include:
  • The hero - Jim.
  • The heroine Selena.
  • The bossy guy - Frank, but only moderately so.  He has some good ideas and usually backs down easily.  He did go into the tunnel and drive stupidly to prove a point, though.
  • Bossy guy's female companion - Hannah, Frank's daughter.
  • The secondary hero - Mark, although not in the film long.
  • The weepy girl - Hannah, may count after her father dies.
  • Child - Hannah.
  • The crazy guy - N/A.
  • Unbeliever N/A.
  • The gang leader - Major Henry West, head of the soldiers.
5d.  Man is the real monster - There were five uninfected civilian survivors and eight uninfected soldiers shown in the film.  Three of the civilians survived, and the ones who died were infected [Frank] (or assumed to be [Mark]) and killed by the uninfected.  One of the soldiers was infected, but his fate unknown [Private Clifton] (but he was only infected because Jim freed Private Mailer to kill the soldiers).  Major West was killed by the infected, but only because Hannah trapped him in a position to be murdered by them.  Privates Bedford and Bell were also killed by Mailer and/or Clifton because Jim released Mailer to kill them. Jim murdered Private Davis, Private Jones, Corporal Mitchell.  Sergeant Farrell was executed for betraying the other soldiers.  Of the ten deaths (or infections) 3 were infections ) obviously by the infected, 3 were murdered by the infected, and 4 were murdered by the uninfected.  However, all of the murders by the infected and one of the infections occurred due to the deliberate intervention of uninfected, so rather than 6 to 4, it's more like 2 to 8, with the uninfected being the real monsters.
5e.  Steep learning curve - Jim has it, waking up 4 weeks after the outbreak and having difficulty coping with the situation, to being able to take out a squad of soldiers by himself.
5f.  Final Girl and Final Guy Jim, Selena and Hannah.



"So, lesson one - You never go anywhere alone, unless you've got no choice. And lesson two - Only travel during daylight, unless you've got no choice." ~ Mark.

6a.  Standing around talking for no reason when endangered - Not really.
6b.  Grieving - Hannah does a little after her father dies.
6c.  Making accidental noises - N/A.
6d.  Being unable to smell decaying flesh - Not an issue, but the infected don't clean themselves.
6e.  Engaging hand-to-hand combat with zombies - Happens a few times.
6f.  Hiding secret bite - Mark seems to know he was infected by tries to beg to be spared.
6g.  Unwilling to kill the bitten - Selena doesn't show any hesitation when she thinks Mark is infected.
6h.  Unwilling to kill the undead - Jim is hesitant to kill Frank when he's turned.  Fortunately, soldiers do that for him.  Selena hesitates when Jim seems to be infected, which is fortunate because he isn't.
6i.  In-fighting - Not really within the intial group, but it happens when they join the soldiers.
6j.  Fighting at all - Jim causes most of the deaths to save Hannah and Selena.
6k.  Having sex - Selena and Jim kiss when they think they're safe.  Hannah hits him with a bottle.  Wanting to keep sex slaves is what causes the soldiers to be killed.
6l.  Being cowardly - Some of the soldiers, especially Jones and Bell.
6m.  Betraying the group - Only Ferrell who betrays the soldiers.
6n.  Going anywhere they shouldn't go in a slasher film
  • Down to the Basement - N/A.
  • Upstairs - N/A
  • For a Shower - Showering seems fine.
  • Into old sheds or out buildings - N/A
  • Running off to the “safety” of the forest - N/A.
  • Anywhere alone - Jim does OK after he escapes from the mansion.
  • Anywhere Remote, Isolated or Confined - Everywhere sort of counts, especially the cosy cottage at the end.
  • Any Old, Abandoned or Presumably Haunted Buildings - Occasionally.
6o.  Relying on anything they shouldn't in rely on a slasher film
  • Communications devices - The radio message ended up being a trap.
  • Lighting - N/A.
  • Vehicular Transport - The tyre on the taxi, and the vechile that Jim sabotaged.
  • Their Own Legs - N/A.
  • The Authorities - If you count the soldiers, yeah, the authorities were a problem.
  • Weapons – Weapons mostly seemed to work OK.
  • Escape Routes - The tunnel was blocked, but they got past it.
6p.  Being over-confident - Maybe applies to Frank in the taxi, but later to the soldiers.
6q.  Making a plan that is too complex - Not really.
6r.  Making a plan - If Jim had a plan it worked, but he seemed to be making it up as he went along.
6s.  Assume they're safe - Mostly at the mansion with the soldiers, especially when they discover Major West waiting for them in the cab.
6t.  Be happy - Laughing in the cab just prior to the tyre blowing.  They were happy in the grocery store - usually a bad sign - but got away with it.
6u.  Just one last thing - Jim does enter a building to look for food or something when he's told not to.  He is forced to kill and infected child when he does.
6v.  Never assume anyone or anything is dead - Possibly Major West.


Standard Plot.

"Have you got any plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world or just fall in love and fuck? Plans are pointless. Staying alive is as good as it gets." ~ Selena.

7a.  Normal life - No one's normal life is shown before the outbreak (Jim's is shown briefly in home movies.)
7b.  Sudden outbreak - Yes, but only because of the time jump.
7c.  Meetings - As noted met Selena (and Mark) and then Frank and Hannah and decide to travel together.
7d.  Civilisation will collapse - While Jim was asleep.
7e.  Looting becomes scavenging - Stealing from vending machines early on, later from a grocery store.
7f.  Gangs/bandits/cannibals - The soldiers count as a gang, attempt to use the female characters as sex slaves.
7g.  Finding a place to hole up - First Frank and Hannah's flat, later, the mansion the military were occupying.
7h.  Avoiding connect ing to people - Mark is a joker, but Selena is avoiding connecting to others.
7i.  Suicidal - Jim's parents had committed suicide will he was in the coma.  Major West said one of the soldiers had been planing suicide.
7j.  Undead loved-ones - Hannah's father, briefly.
7l.  Limited food/water/bullets - Frank shows Jim that they are experiencing just this problem.
7m.  Escape from a place Frank and Hannah live in a high-rise building and need Selena and Jim to get to a military camp they've heard about on a recording on the radio.
7n.  Armoured vehicle - They have a well packed taxi, but it isn't armoured.
7o.  Don't let me turn/save a bullet - Selena says the reverse, that (for her own safety) she'd kill anyone infected before they turn.
7p.  Injury - Jim is injured and needs medical attention.
7q.  Heroic sacrifice - Doesn't happen.
7r.  Death of the last survivor - The three major characters survive.


There will be social commentary.

"This is what I've seen in the four weeks since infection. People killing people, which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, and as far back as I care to remember. People killing people, which to my mind, puts us in a state of normality right now." ~ Major Henry West.

8a.  We are already zombies - The footage at the beginning (rioting and civil unrest) and the reasoning for making the virus - to study rage to find a way to reduce it - suggest that although we aren't infected with the Rage Virus, we're already infected with rage.  Major West's speech supports this.  When Jim kills the soldiers he acts like he's infected (to the point where Selena is about to kill him.)
8c.  Racism - Not really covered.
8d.  Working together - Frank makes this point, but it's not a major theme.
8e.  Man is the real monster - The military are the monsters, and they are man.
8f.  Zombies are people, too - Jim has a moment of this with Private Mailer.
8g.  Other - The implication of the beginning of the film is the cliches that scientists create monsters that they can't control and activists don't know what they're doing.  More than most other films, it also pushes the fear-of-virus aspect, especially with the Ebola like symptoms of the Rage Virus.


There is no happily ending.

"Do you think he saw us this time?" ~ Selena.

In the end, the infected are dying off and lying around weakly while foreign military fly over the countryside looking for survivors, like our heroes who are liking in a cottage in the country.

9a.  Downer ending - Although a number of them were filmed, eventually they went for a happier ending.
9b.  Sudden end - The heroes are seen by a foreign aircraft.
9c.  Disaster porn - More becoming a cosy catastrophe with them set up in a out-of-the-way cottage.
9d.  No cure - No cure is mentioned, only the concept that the infected seem to be dying of starvation after 56 days.

RULE #10


"Right now, TV's are playing, and planes are flying in the sky, and the rest of the world is continuing as fuckin' normal. Think! Actually think about it. What would you do with a diseased little island? They quarantined us." ~ Sergeant Farrell.

10a.  Sequels - There is a sequel 28 Weeks Later.
10b.  Remakes - No remakes and not a remake (but shares some elements with earlier works like "Day of the Triffids" and older zombie films.
10c.  Adaptations - Not an adaptation.

Extra.  Versions - No, but alternate endings released as extras.


"More infected will be coming. They always do." ~ Selena.

  • Rules that are followed in this film:  1; 2; 5; 7; 8
  • Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film:   3;  4;  6; 9; 10.

~ DUG.

Do the survey to determine the next genre to be tested.
Check out the schedule for upcoming Film Rules films to be reviewed.

No comments:

Post a Comment