Post-Apocalypse: 28 Days Later
Now that we have passed through the veil during Halloween it seems only right that we deal with the post-apocalypse. This collection will feature two designs from two of our favorite post-apocalyptic movies the first one being the Danny Boyle masterpiece... 28 Days Later!
28 Days Later holds a particular place in our slimy, blood-vomit covered hearts. This movie had one of the scariest trailers that we can remember. The red-eyed zombie standing in the rain staring maniacally through the window terrified our 15 and 16 year-old selves. Every time we passed a window we expected to see his face waiting there to induce a full evacuation of our bowels. 28 Days Later took the zombie genre into new territory with a clear reason why they were zombies AND made them fast, not just quick, but blood freezing fast. When you watch other zombie movies you might say, "I could totally outrun these losers, they are so slow!" not in 28 Days Later. Jim (the main character played by Cillian Murphy) is running for his life from the very beginning. To this day when classifying zombies we ask, "Are they regular zombies or 28 Days Later zombies?" because this movie jettisoned the idea of lumbering, offish, brain eaters into track stars that want to vomit blood in your face.
In addition to the literal change of pace, 28 Days Later takes you into what living in a post-apocalyptic world would be like. Just imagining waking up from coma into a world completely and irrevocably different from when you went in is horrifying, and that's without the zombies. Danny Boyle does a superb job conveying the loneliness and disorientation that Jim must be feeling. In the simplest ways Boyle is able to show the best aspects of humanity and the very worst. As with other zombie movies we find the true monsters are other survivors not the infected. The infected also shine a light on the human condition showing what unbridled rage we possess as a species.
There are so many wonderful superlatives about this movie but perhaps our favorite is the hope and connection we find in the darkest most uncertain times. After all the characters go through, the power of seeing an airplane, lifts you out of the dread and despair. In the final moments of the movie you see HELL spelled out on a hill which could have been an understandable takeaway from this movie but instead the final actions the characters take is to finish the message with the first word Jim utters when wakes from coma "HELLO." This time a greeting filled with hope and not utter despair.
While the shots and characters in 28 Days Later are incredible and iconic, the score and soundtrack are a character and force within the movie as well. Around the time this movie premiered we had started listening to the band Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
To convey our love or appreciation for this band would be a distraction but at that time we had never heard anything like it. The instrumental music rips at you and carries you through emotions you never knew music could. I (Lance) still remember the first time I heard The Dead Flag Blues and I get chills just thinking about it. The way Boyle uses this transformative music, specifically from the song "East Hastings" in 28 Days Later is masterful. The peaks and valleys of the music mirror the emotions and actions on the screen perfectly and get your heart racing as the movie intensifies. Never before had we seen a movie that used music this way, remember we were 15, but to this day this soundtrack is one of our favorites.
Another interesting aspect of the movie is how it was filmed. If you've ever wondered why you still can't find a full HD/4K version it's because the film was shot almost completely with digital SD cameras, just above consumer-level grade, giving survivor Jim "Cillian Murphy" and his journey across a newly deserted England a rush of post-apocalyptic immediacy. In 2002 shooting on film was still the norm, so grimy, tethered footage felt like a glimpse into a new world and it was a horrifically effective world that Boyle created.
Our love for this movie could not be overstated and we wanted to capture the horror and intensity in our design. The post-apocalyptic world Danny Boyle creates in 28 Days Later is horrifying but he captures the best of what people are and who we chose to be.