Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Thousands of them.
Like it or lump it, those undead monsters are everywhere in Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brook’s 2006 novel of the same name.
For all those involved, this is a very different Apocalypse Now.
Plot details and/or spoilers will be spread throughout the world.
Those partial to pandemic participation include:
Brad Pitt – Gerry
Daniella Kertesz – Segen
Mireille Enos – Karin
Fana Mokoena – Thierry
Pierfrancesco Favino – W.H.O. Doctor
Meet the family of changing Lanes which consist of ex-UN employee Gerry, wife Karin and their children, Constance and Rachel.
While sandwiched in a traffic jam, shortly after the radio report of a worldwide rabies outbreak, stationary frustration is a mere inconvenience as events spill over into a mixture of mass panic and mayhem.
Amongst the unnatural scurry of civilians, Gerry unnervingly witnesses attacks more excessive than romantic nibbles and 12 seconds later, the recipient looks a bit worse for wear.
After a smashing time with windscreens, it is decided that these crazies should be given a wide berth and Gerry escapes with his family via a mobile home.
Reaching a minimum safe distance, Gerry contacts his pal Thierry and is advised to go the roof of an apartment block to await an air support rescue.
Before that, it’s unopposed Supermarket Sweep, without the annoyance of Dale Winton. We also see devastation on a global scale.
They knock a family up and despite the unofficial offer of ‘come with us; join with us’ by The Feeling, they’re less keen than a celibate prostitute with a horny backlog of punters.
Scarpering to the roof, unwanted attention is brought by those having a bad day. Nevertheless, they make it and a sight more welcome than the glow of sunshine arrives and the Lanes are taken to a ship on the Atlantic Ocean.
Did you know that the Time Bandits abandoned plank in the same ocean after enjoying the luxuries of the Titantic?
Well, they did.
So, Thierry and scientist types chew the theory gristle with Gerry. Spanish flu’ and ‘zombies’ are thrown into the explanation pot so we think ‘uh oh’.
When the family is threatened with eviction, Gerry reluctantly accepts terms and agrees to travel with Seals to discover the origin of the virus in the hope to develop a vaccine.
He does intermittently keep in contact with the trouble and strife with a dog and bone.
Enter the first port of call in South Korea.
Gerry learns titbits of what experienced zombie campaigners already know.
Sound attracts and they are drawn to the source like consumers to a liquidation sale. Body shots cause slow down like a not too active SNES game, head shots seem to do the trick and as a belt and braces job, look to incineration.
An imprisoned CIA geezer enjoying a stint in the clink because of selling arms to the North, points Gerry in the thoughtful direction of a geezer residing in Israel.
Zombie attacks result in the death of some but naturally, our man makes it Jerusalem and continues his pursuit.
After inevitable discussion with the people’s leader, the best action sequence begins and ends with a crash, bang and missing a whimper.
This is where the trailer selling zombie escalator comes into focus, public transport topples and a helicopter is brought down to uncomfortable earth.
Segen the soldier is along for a ride bumpier than some and is bitten on the bunch of fives. Gerry reacts quickly by sharply removing the affected area which should instantly prevent the spread of infection.
Before boarding an alternative means of transport, Gerry notices that these gut munchers avoid particular normality.
He tends to his wounded escort but this temporary relaxation is rudely interrupted by a solitary zombie outbreak on a plane.
As infection filters through the crew like office gossip, explosive action is favoured over hesitation via the unpinning of Segen’s grenade.
Strap yourself in as emergency; part of the plane is missing...
Crash landed and wounded, Gerry struggles with Segen towards the W.H.O. Research Facility in Cardiff, which their route was diverted via an earlier transmission with Thierry.
I buy that but how they sniffed out the location is pure Hollywood.
Researchers are apparently good at inventing their own theories but listening to Gerry’s brings a novelty as he believes that the infected sense the sick and ignore the terminally ill, like he saw in Israel.
He suggests that injecting a pathogen virus will not be a cure, but camouflage.
After all, in order for a virus to thrive, it needs a healthy host but you don’t need to be a scientist to spout that fountain...
Although sceptical, they give his spiel a chance and direct him to where the samples are stored. He and friends will have to overcome a dormant and dead problem to access hopeful assumption.
Scientists are separated as humans are just the stimulus that zombies need but unperturbed, Gerry locates the vault.
A member of the reanimated deceased selfishly appears and blocks safe exit. An intravenous injection of faith later brings a simple decision of ‘get busy escaping, or get busy freezing’.
Gratefully accepting the invitation of unforced entry, our zombie investigates but confusion reigns and Gerry leaves unharmed.
With a grin wider than a Cheshire pussy cat, he cracks open fizz and purposely creates a racket as we watch the charge of undead ignore his casual saunter back to the other survivors.
Gerry is reunited with his family at a safe zone and the pseudo vaccine adapted from pathogen is sent to most corners of the globe. Despite this time buying, zombies are still rife but as Mr Lane narrates, the war is not won or over, it’s just the beginning.
I was left satisfied but far from overwhelmed with this latest entry into dangerous decay.
Forester prefers an outbreak of veins over missing limbs and general grostesque for his army of sprinters which also contributes towards this been some way off an 18 but mercifully, a country mile away from a 12A, so I praise that necessary edits where negated.
Although George A. Romero’s original Dawn of the Dead remains the ultimate example, how things have move on since 1978 as the genre is no longer stereotyped by blood-drenched goregasms.
These are the not really new breed of flesh fanatics who impressively crash, smash and display a total disregard for their own safety. They also don't give a shit about height and are certainly in a hurry for the next bite of a tasty cherry.
The end zombie’s facial mannerisms are a cross between Hannibal Lecter and more so, Clive Barker’s Chattering Cenobite in Hellraiser.
Switching to video games, Dead Rising boasted hundreds and due to its ‘coincidental’ setting, famously insisted ‘this game was not developed, approved or licensed by the owners or creators of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead’.
Left 4 Dead is undeniably the epitome of 28 Days Later as zombies simply zoom towards those in control.
Danny Boyle injected pace into the silver screen in 2002 and holy shit, the twitching and seizures that Boyle’s rage famously displayed are practically identical.
Some may forget that Danny Boyle's angry mob are not zombies...
Some may forget that Danny Boyle's angry mob are not zombies...
Even in the apartment block, 28 Days Later rings true.
Despite these obvious and unsubtle undertones, this is a rip rollicking ride filled with quality action, fantastic scenery and most of all, survival gets going almost immediately without getting caught up with protracted vanity that moves slower than a steamroller in cement.
Going the extra mile with adult symphony may have made this exemplary and for those who crave visceral gore should chomp into the efforts of yesteryear.