Review Date: June 14, 2003
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Producers: Andrew MacDonald
A man wakes up in an English hospital bed, only to find out that he seems to be the only human being left alive on the planet after a raging virus strikes everyone down. As he walks around London, he discovers that infected humans want to kill him, but that others like him still exist in the shadows. Teaming up with a few survivors, they all set out to find others like them or better yet, someone with a cure for the disease. How about Marion Cobretti?
Not impressed. I'm not sure if my final thoughts on this film have much to do with my expectations going in, but from everything I'd heard, this movie was a damn good time, with TRAINSPOTTING's director Danny Boyle grabbing a bunch of zombies and sticking them into a doomsday concept in England. Sounds like a blast, right? Instead, I was practically snoozing during the film's initial hour as a handful of characters roamed around from empty spot to empty spot, not saying much and avoiding the odd "infected human" (aka zombie) that tried to overcome them every now and again. By that point, I was hoping that the film's second hour would bring about a little more spunk, a little more style or a little more, well...story, but despite a much needed boost of more characters into the film, the final bits went into another direction altogether with leftover Army personnel demonstrating how the armed forces are apparently only equipped with perverted morons with penchants for murder. Yawn. I was hoping for so much more out of this picture: more action, more plot, more style, more killings, more horror, more pace, more surprises, more characters...more everything! Instead, all I got was a semi-decent set-up, a cool concept, a couple of jolts along the way but not much else. The slow pace of it all just bored the crap out of me and even if I hadn't already seen a zillion other similar horror/zombie films before this one, I'd wonder what the hell the main selling point would be for this film...other than its admirable ability to have shot a lot of scenes around many of London's most popular spots...completely empty.
Eerie, but I "got" that after the first 10 minutes...do you really need to keep showing me the vast emptiness of the surroundings throughout the entire movie?? Get on with it already...tell me an interesting story! The film is also shot on digital-video, which makes it all look very grainy, and I suppose, more life-like, but even that got on my nerves after a while. It made it all feel like a low-budget student film which seemed to be going for something "arty", but ended up with very little to say (at least to me). Yeah, we get it...humans are at their worst when shit hits the fan...tell me something I don't know. As for the "zombie" attacks, once again, I wasn't particularly impressed with Boyle using the quick-cam shake-it-around-as-much-as-you-can angle to emphasize from the fact that we actually see very little of the attack, the gore, the bites, the anything. Some of the stuff even reminded me of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and for me...that's never a good thing (another overrated flick). Yes, the actors were solid, the soundtrack was inspired at times and a couple of the vomiting/attack scenes were pretty damn disgusting, but where's the meat, where's the so-called developed plotline, where's the originality? I'm still not exactly sure why so many critics are raving this film up but the words "scary as hell" were the last ones on my mind when I walked out of my screening. If anything, allow my extremely disappointed view of this film to lower your own expectations of this "zombie flick" (which it is not...incidentally), so that you might just enjoy it more than I did. For me, I can't say that much about the film entertained or excited me, and I definitely don't foresee myself watching it again anytime soon. Cobretti...where you at, bro?
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian