28 Days Later...

UK 2002, 113 mins
Director: Danny Boyle

+ Q&A with director Danny Boyle

Imagine waking up in a hospital with no idea how you got there and finding London completely deserted, a ghost town after the population was decimated by the spread of a lab-created virus that brought about the collapse of society over the course of four weeks. Recently awakened from a coma, Jim (Murphy) encounters fellow survivors Selena (Harris), Frank (Gleeson) and Hannah (Burns). They travel out of the city in order to find safe haven, while avoiding the infected masses. Taking inspiration from Day of the Triffids and George A Romero’s Dead trilogy, 28 Days Later… helped kickstart a zombie revival in modern cinema. Twenty years after its original release and as we come to terms with a very real pandemic, the scenes of an abandoned London and a rage-crazed infected population gain a terrifying new layer of meaning.
Anna Bogutskaya,

A contemporary review
After the mainstream meanderings of The Beach, this back-to-basics genre hybrid finds director Danny Boyle on home ground, delivering exactly the kind of pacey entertainment that once earned him the title of ‘the future of British film’. Based on a script by Beach-boy Alex Garland, 28 Days Later… cannibalises a wide range of popular culture, drawing on novels (H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend), movies (George A. Romero’s Dead trilogy, Jorge Grau’s Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue), and even television (disaster-soaps such as Survivors and Threads). The result is a thoroughly modern throwback to tried-and-tested fantasy formulas of yore, given a tense 21st-century edge by Boyle’s stripped-down visual aesthetic and (presumably) producer Andrew Macdonald’s continuing mandate to think big on modest budgets. (At a reported $10 million, this is less pricey than The Beach yet far more richly rewarding.) On this evidence, two of the wheels of the Trainspotting team are back on track.

Having found himself at home with the increasingly misused medium of digital video (which seems to have offered as many constraints to filmmakers’ creativity as freedoms), Boyle here brings the promise of his television films Strumpet and Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise to cinematic fruition, using DP Anthony Dod Mantle’s extraordinary mixture of technical nous and artistic flair to conjure a daringly ragged vision of a devastated world. The early scenes in particular, in which a wasteland-like London is laid out before us much as T.S. Eliot’s proverbial ‘patient etherised upon a table’, are striking not only for their practical accomplishment (is it a digital effect, or are those streets really empty?) but also for their hauntingly poetic resonance. Rarely has the West End, cleansed of human traffic, seemed so terrifyingly tranquil. When the action moves north of the Watford Gap, the film’s palette changes, balancing some ironically bright and expansive rural interludes with scenes of the kind of dark claustrophobic horror traditionally associated with post-_Night of the Living Dead_ terror. Top marks too to editor Chris Gill, who cut the BBC’s recent runaway adaptation of Crime and Punishment and who here handles the transition from scenes of languorous intimacy and creeping tension to explosive action with ease.

Boyle and Macdonald’s casting choices are, despite some wandering accents, impressive. Rising star Cillian Murphy sheds the untrammelled histrionics of Disco Pigs to harness his oddly ethereal charm in a manner that is engaging rather than irritating, while Naomie Harris treads an instinctive line between tough posturing and tender protectiveness. As the gruffly loveable father figure Frank, Brendan Gleeson lends much-needed ballast. But it is spiky stalwart Christopher Eccleston (the true star of Boyle’s feature debut Shallow Grave) who really gets the dramatic bit between his teeth, swallowing his borderline-psychotic soldier role with ease, and politely spitting it into the audience’s face in a measuredly menacing performance. It’s a credit to Eccleston that while his character Major Henry West never quite slips into the realms of self-parody, he still exudes a larger-than-life quality in keeping with the generic roots of the material.

For those who loved the home-grown independent spirit of Boyle’s first two pictures, it’s tempting to see 28 Days Later… as a return of the prodigal son, chastened by the bland excesses of American filmmaking (although both A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach were, on some level, ‘UK productions’). Certainly the upbeat chimes of the Clash’s ‘Hitsville UK’, which played over the closing credits of test prints of 28 Days Later… strengthened this impression. Although the song does not feature in released prints, the echoes of its celebration of homemade entertainment (‘a mike and boom in your living room!’) can still be heard ringing out across the post-apocalyptic landscape on screen. Despite being co-produced by 20th Century Fox, this remains at heart a piece of punk-rock movie-making – quintessentially British, sneeringly aggressive, appetisingly meaty.
Mark Kermode, Sight and Sound, December 2002

Director: Danny Boyle
©/Presented with: DNA Films Ltd
Presented by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Presented with/Made with the support of: Film Council
With the assistance of: East London Film Fund, European Regional Development Fund
Producer: Andrew MacDonald
Line Producer: Robert How
General Manager for DNA Films: Joanne Smith
Unit Manager: Claire Tovey
Unit Manager (German Production Crew): Antje Krutz
Production Manager (German Production Crew): Monika Kintner
Production Co-ordinator: Candice Fonseca
Production Co-ordinator (German Production Crew): Birgit Wollny
Location Managers: Pat Karam, Alex Gladstone
Post-production (Supervisor): Clare St. John
1st Assistant Director: Richard Styles
2nd Assistant Director: Sara Desmond
3rd Assistant Director: Carlos Fidel
Script Supervisor: Eve Spence
Casting: Gail Stevens
ADR Voice Casting: Louis Elman
Screenplay: Alex Garland
Director of Photography: Anthony Dod Mantle
Aerial Unit Cameraman: Adam Dale
Camera Operator: Marcel Zyskind
Additional Camera Crew: Bob Shipsey, Steve Wallace
Digital Effects Supervisor: Tony Lawrence
Digital Effects Consultant: Peter Bach
Special Visual Effects: Clear
Executive Producers for Clear: Simon Fallon, Greg Caplan
Digital Lab: The Moving Picture Company
Producers for MPC: Begoña López, Matthew Bristowe
Special Effects (Supervisors): Richard Conway, Bob Hollow
Editor: Chris Gill
Production Designer: Mark Tildesley
Supervising Art Director: Mark Digby
Art Director: Patrick Rolfe
Art Director/Draughtsman: Rod Gorwood
Set Decorator: Fanny Taylor
Costume Designer: Rachael Fleming
Wardrobe Supervisor: Anne Lavender-Jones
Make-up Designer: Sallie Jaye
Make-up Artist: Sian Grigg
Prosthetics Make-up Effects: Mark Rappaport Creature Effects, Cliff Wallace, Alan Hedgcock
Titles Designed by: The Creative Partnership
End Credits by: Cine Image
Music: John Murphy
Strings by: Andrew Price
Percussion and Drums by: Ged ‘God’ Lynch
Music Editors: Hugo Adams, Lee Herrick
Score Mixed and Produced by: Daniel L. Griffiths
Additional Engineering: Simon Denny
Strings and Choir Recorded by: Mike Hunter
Music Consultant: Laura Z. Wasserman
Sound Design: Glenn Freemantle
Sound Recordist: John Rodda
Re-recording Mixers (Pre-mix): John Hayward, Nick Lemessurier
Re-recording Mixers (Final Mix): Ray Merrin, Graham Daniel, Adam Daniel, Lyle Scott-Darling
Supervising Sound Editor: Glenn Freemantle
Dialogue Editor: Gillian Dodders
Sound Effects Editor: Tom Sayers
ADR Mixers: Ted Swanscott, Paul Carr, Peter Gleaves
ADR Editor: Gillian Dodders
Foley Artists: Felicity Cottrell, Ruth Sullivan, Ricky Butt
Foley Mixer: Kevin Tayler
Foley Editor: Grahame Peters
Stunt Co-ordinator: Nicholas Powell
Military Adviser: Henry Camilleri
Armourer: Faujja Singh
Animal Action Arranged/Co-ordinated by: A-Z Animals Limited
Chimpanzee Trainers: Thomas Hudlemaier, Sylvia Hudlemaier
Aerial Unit Operations: Jennifer Allen

Cillian Murphy (Jim)
Naomie Harris (Selena)
Megan Burns (Hannah)
Brendan Gleeson (Frank)
Christopher Eccleston (Major Henry West)
Alex Palmer, Bindu de Stoppani, Jukka Hiltunen (activists)
David Schneider (scientist)
Toby Sedgwick (infected priest)
Noah Huntley (Mark)
Christopher Dunne (Jim’s father)
Emma Hitching (Jim’s mother)
Alexander Delamere (Mr Bridges)
Kim McGarrity (Mr Bridges’ daughter)
Justin Hackney (infected kid)
Luke Mably (Private Clifton)
Stuart McQuarrie (Sergeant Farrell)
Ricci Harnett (Corporal Mitchell)
Leo Bill (Private Jones)
Junior Laniyan (Private Bell)
Ray Panthaki (Private Bedford)
Sanjay Rambaruth (Private Davis)
Marvin Campbell (Private Mailer)
Adrian Christopher, Richard Dwyer, Nick Ewans, Terry John, Paul Kasey, Sebastian Knapp, Nicholas James Lewis, Jenni Lush, Tristan Matthiae, Jeff Rann, Joelle Simpson, Al Stokes, Steen Young (featured infected)

UK 2002©
113 mins

Nosferatu (Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens)
Mon 17 Oct 20:50; Sun 13 Nov 15:50 (+ intro by Silent Film Curator Bryony Dixon); Sat 19 Nov 14:10
Tue 18 Oct 20:50; Fri 28 Oct 18:20; Tue 8 Nov 18:20; Sun 27 Nov 13:00
The Skeleton Key
Wed 19 Oct 18:00; Mon 14 Nov 20:45
Meet the Monsters: A Season Introduction
Thu 20 Oct 19:30 BFI YouTube
I Walked With a Zombie
Thu 20 Oct 20:40; Tue 1 Nov 18:10
Creature from the Black Lagoon (3D)
Sat 22 Oct 18:15 (+ pre-recorded intro by Mallory O’Meara, award winning and bestselling author of ‘The Lady from the Black Lagoon’); Sat 29 Oct 11:40; Tue 1 Nov 20:50
In Dreams Are Monsters Quiz
Sun 23 Oct 19:00-22:00 Blue Room
Kuroneko (Yabu no naka no kuroneko)
Tue 25 Oct 20:45; Mon 31 Oct 21:00; Fri 18 Nov 18:15
The Fly
Wed 26 Oct 21:00
La Llorona
Thu 27 Oct 20:30; Mon 7 Nov 21:00
Celluloid Screams and Live Cinema UK presents: Ghostwatch + Q&A
Fri 28 Oct 20:20
Fri 28 Oct 20:45; Tue 8 Nov 20:50
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Sat 29 Oct 18:30; Wed 30 Nov 20:50
Sat 29 Oct 20:45; Thu 17 Nov 20:50 (+ intro)
Nightbreed – Director’s Cut
Sun 30 Oct 15:10 (+ intro); Sat 12 Nov 20:35
28 Days Later
Mon 31 Oct 18:00 (+ Q&A with director Danny Boyle); Sat 26 Nov 20:45
Tue 1 Nov 20:40; Sat 19 Nov 15:10; Tue 29 Nov 20:40
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Wed 2 Nov 18:10; Sat 26 Nov 20:40
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death
Wed 2 Nov 20:45; Sat 19 Nov 20:45
Thu 3 Nov 20:55; Sat 26 Nov 13:00
Fri 4 Nov 18:30; Sat 19 Nov 12:10; Sun 20 Nov 18:30
Fright Night
Fri 4 Nov 20:50; Tue 22 Nov 20:40 (+ intro)
Sat 5 Nov 20:20 (+ intro by author Kier-La Janisse); Sun 27 Nov 15:30
Ganja & Hess
Mon 7 Nov 18:00; Sat 26 Nov 15:20
Wed 9 Nov 20:40; Sat 26 Nov 18:20
The Entity
Fri 11 Nov 17:55; Tue 15 Nov 20:30
Def by Temptation
Wed 16 Nov 18:10 (+ intro); Sat 26 Nov 18:10
Jennifer’s Body
Sun 20 Nov 15:15; Mon 21 Nov 18:00; Fri 25 Nov 20:45
Mon 21 Nov 20:30; Sun 27 Nov 12:20
Under the Shadow
Wed 23 Nov 20:40; Tue 29 Nov 18:10
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Thu 24 Nov 20:40; Mon 28 Nov 18:10
Pet Sematary
Fri 25 Nov 18:15; Mon 28 Nov 20:40
Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras)
Sun 27 Nov 18:10; Wed 30 Nov 20:25

City Lit at BFI: Screen Horrors – Screen Monsters
Thu 20 Oct – Thu 15 Dec 18:30-20:30
Beyond Nollywood World Premiere: Inside Life + Q&A with director Clarence A Peters
Sat 29 Oct 14:00
Matchbox Cine presents House of Psychotic Women
Sat 5 Nov 17:50
Son of Ingagi + Panel Discussion
Wed 9 Nov 18:10
Live Commentary with Evolution of Horror, Brain Rot and The Final Girls
Sat 19 Nov 18:00
Big Monster Energy
Tue 22 Nov 18:30

Welcome to the home of great film and TV, with three cinemas and a studio, a world-class library, regular exhibitions and a pioneering Mediatheque with 1000s of free titles for you to explore. Browse special-edition merchandise in the BFI Shop.We're also pleased to offer you a unique new space, the BFI Riverfront – with unrivalled riverside views of Waterloo Bridge and beyond, a delicious seasonal menu, plus a stylish balcony bar for cocktails or special events. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a drink on the balcony as the sun goes down.

Enjoy a great package of film benefits including priority booking at BFI Southbank and BFI Festivals. Join today at

We are always open online on BFI Player where you can watch the best new, cult & classic cinema on demand. Showcasing hand-picked landmark British and independent titles, films are available to watch in three distinct ways: Subscription, Rentals & Free to view.

See something different today on

Join the BFI mailing list for regular programme updates. Not yet registered? Create a new account at

Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email