Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.
The ‘Rage’ virus is feared to have infected the entire planet. A message plays on radio saying that help for the uninfected is available in Manchester. Four survivors manage to get to Manchester. Jim (Cillian Murphy), Selena (Naomie Harris), Hannah (Megan Burns) and her dad Frank (Brendan Gleeson). Frank becomes infected, and is shot dead by a group of soilders. The soldiers take the other survivors into the safety of their heavily armed country house. Soon we see their true intentions: they aren’t working on a cure for the virus, but rather are hoping that the infection will die on its own, and planning on using the women to re-populate England. The soldiers send Jim away to be shot. Jim gets free and turns a rage-infected soldier loose on his former comrades. In the ensuing chaos, Jim frees Selena and Hannah, but is shot as the three of them escape. 28 days later, the last of the infected are seen dying of hunger. Jim, Selena and Hannah are making a sign that will be visible from the air. All three go outside to signal a passing reconnaissance plane, which is an indication that the UK was isolated in time, and that the disease did not spread to the rest of the world.
Also, beginning July 25, theaters in the US will be showing an alternate ending after the credits roll. In this version, discarded due to poor preview response, Jim doesn’t survive his gunshot wound. (Note that this ending is included in the UK DVD.)
The movie begins with some animal activists breaking into a research lab in Cambridge. Monkeys are being tested with a disease called R.A.G.E. After not listening to the helpless doctor’s plea to not release the monkeys, one of the activists unlocks one of the containers and is bit by a monkey. She begins vomiting blood and everyone becomes infected.
28 Days Later…..
Our protagonist, Jim (Cillian Murphy), awakes in an abandoned hospital.
He finds trash everywhere, phones off the hook, everything is a wreck. He goes outside only to find London is in even worse shape. No cars, no people, no noises. Newspapers saying “Evacuation” and things of the sort. Jim goes into a church nearby. He finds a pile of bodies and calls ‘hello.’ Two of the bodies rise, staring at him with blank expressions. Then a priest bursts through the door. He, along with the other infected, chase Jim outside.
Note from Dan (The Movie Spoiler): These “Zombies” aren’t dead; just people infected with the “rage” disease. Oh, and they aren’t stiff awkwardly moving slow zombies either. They can be pretty darn speedy…
As he is being chased, two people save him, throwing Molotov cocktails at his pursuers. He meets Selena and Mark, a supposed couple. They find shelter at a nearby shop. Selena explains that they are infected and that any contact with their blood, by touch or ingestion, makes you infected. Jim wants to know what happened to his parents.
Jim visits his parent’s house. He finds them dead, with his picture in his mom’s hand. They stay here for the night. Jim can’t sleep, so he gets up, lights a candle and goes to the fridge. Starring at the fridge he imagines that his parents just came home from somewhere and he greets them warmly and has a few words with them …
We see the house from outside where the candlelight is clearly visible and a few shadows – zombies obviously – run past towards the house. Jim is still daydreaming as the zombies break through the backdoor, the kitchen door and attack him. His two companions come to his rescue in a rather confused and slightly bloody scene. A ‘zombie’ jumps through the window and tries to kill Jim. Mark and Selena kill it, but Mark gets bit. Selena instantly kills Mark without hesitation.
They leave and wander around London and then they see something:
Christmas lights on a balcony of a quite high apartment building. They decide to go there.
“They climb atop a pile of shopping carts which are some sort of a blockade against the zombies, and they make their way up the stairs.
More zombies pursue them but they are saved by a man dressed in SWAT attire. He is Frank (Brendan Gleeson), and his daughter is Hannah.
They live on top of the building. Frank begins listening to his radio. The army is calling for everyone to seek shelter in Manchester, which is where they depart to.
Frank drives them in his Taxi. They have to take a dark path under a bridge, where cars and bodies block the way. Frank drives through them and makes it, with a flat tire. As he changes it, zombies begin to come towards the car. In a very suspenseful scene, they get the tire on and drive off.
They come to a store and get all the supplies they need. They drive to a grassy area in the middle of nowhere and stay the night. In the morning, they leave and go by a gas station. Jim goes inside and is confronted by an infected adolescent, who he kills with a bat. Frank gets gas and they leave.
When they arrive in Manchester, they find it burning and destroyed, no people. Frank looks for other people and cars. As he sits to think, he finds a crow. He shoos it away, only to get a drop of blood in his eye from a dead zombie. He tells his daughter to stay away, and as he transforms, soldiers shoot him and take Jim and the others to their hideout.
At a secluded mansion-like hideout, they are introduced to the soldiers, and then to Major West (Christopher Eccleston).
He shows Jim around the house, the kitchen, and then in the courtyard, where they have Mailer, one of their infected soldiers, tied in chains. (He is the guy on the preview, at the end with the orange-red eyes, FYI.) Later that night, when they are eating dinner, zombies begin to break into the compound. The soldiers go outside and take them out. As this happens, Jim learns the secret behind the soldiers’ rapist feelings towards Selena and Hannah. Major West explains it all: The nine soldiers were already in a desperate state nine days ago, and one of them was even considering suicide, as they faced this hopeless situation. To keep his troop together the Major promised them women with whom they could build a future after the virus-outbreak was over. When showing Jimmy the infected soldier earlier, the major also mentioned that they primarily kept him to see how long it would take to starve a zombie to death. This way they could estimate how long it would be until the whole thing was over.
Jim tries to gather up the girls and escape from the camp to save them from being raped by the soldiers. He is caught and knocked unconscious.
The soldiers take Jim out in the forest to kill him, but after an unsuccessful execution attempt, Jim gets away. At the house, Selena and Hannah are trying to get away from the rapist soldier, whose name I don’t know, so I’ll just call him rapist. Back at some kind of junkyard, Jim kills one of the soldiers and Major West heads home after nearly being killed by some grotesque zombies. As Jim arrives at the house, on another level of the house, he shoots Mailer’s chain and sets him free. This begins a whole chain reaction of Mailer killing soldiers and infecting them who in turn start killing or infecting other soldiers.
Hannah and Selena are sitting in a room, as Hannah tells rapist that he’ll die soon. Rapist turns to the window only to be surprised by the maniacal Mailer, who infects him. They run upstairs while being chased. Jim begins to kill the soldiers and lets them be killed by zombies. Hannah hides from rapist zombie as Jim saves Selena from another psycho soldier, whose eyes Jim gouges out. Selena thinks that it is a zombie, but realizes its Jim. They escape and open the car door only to find West, who shoots Jim. Hannah gets in the car and drives in reverse. She stops, allowing Mailer to reach West and pull him out of the car. West is killed and Hannah saves Jim and Selena. As they drive through the fence, the film progresses.
28 Days Later……
Jim and the others now live in the middle of a green-filled mountain valley, in a large home. Several feet away, we are shown some rather disturbing infected and skinny old zombies which is quite disturbing.
We are now flying over green pastures, probably Scotland or somewhere in an airplanes point of view. We are flying very fast, swaying a little bit, just as if we were a fighter plane. We just passed a bridge with some dark spots on it – too fast to see exactly what they are.
Back on the ground now we see the bridge where zombies are lying around, obviously very weakened, they can barely move, but when the sound of a fighter plane goes past them, they manage to turn their heads to see what it is.
We see Jimmy going to the kitchen where Selena is sewing. Hannah runs into the house, crying: they are here! They quickly spread the O of Hello, which was what Selena was sewing, on the ground. The letters are made of cloth. The fighter jet flies past them, but seems to have seen them! They all dance in joy. The END.
They’re adding an alternative ending to 28 Days Later that will play after the credits.
I’ve seen the alternate ending on the British DVD and it goes like so:
Immediately after they crash through the gate driving away from the mansion…
Selena and Hannah are seen pushing Jim through an abandoned hospital on a gurney. He’s unconscious but dreaming. The scene cuts back and forth between Selena’s (and to a lesser extent Hannah’s) frantic efforts to revive him with whatever is left in the hospital and Jim hallucinating that he’s riding his bike on a job in front of a distorted background of city streets. As Jim starts to fade, he hallucinates giving up (he waves his arms in disgust) and then getting hit by the car again. Back in reality, Hannah has backed away from the gurney while Selena still tries to revive Jim. Eventually, Hannah makes Selena realize that Jim is gone and they both walk away down a long empty corridor.
Also on the DVD is yet another alternate ending (or it might be an extension of the one I just mentioned) that is almost exactly like the original ending shown in the theaters, except that Jim is nowhere to be seen.