Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    75
    A damn-near great end-of-the-world zombie movie, terrifying on the basic heebie-jeebie level, respectful toward its B-movie forebears, and all the more unnerving for coming out in this fretful era of SARS and germ warfare.
  2. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    90
    This is finally the zombie flick as cautionary political tale, and as humanist parable. It's not the flesh-gouging zombie we have to worry about, the filmmakers suggest, but the soul-gouging zombie within.
  3. A first-rate zombie movie. The best tribute I can offer is that it makes you want to go out directly afterward and down some expensive single-malt scotch.
  4. At once an old-fashioned freakout and an environmental cautionary tale (mess with Mother Nature and she'll mess with you right back), the film combines two genre standbys -- lethal contagion and the undead -- and gives them a wicked, contemporary spin.
  5. 80
    The movie is mercifully uncontaminated by the smarty-pants self-reflexiveness that has sucked the lifeblood from nearly all post-"Scream" horror pictures. Clever enough not to be too clever, Boyle and Garland play their story straight -- they just want to give you the creeps -- and, by so doing, bring the undead back to cinematic life.
  6. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    70
    Shows a rather arrogant disdain for its audience in between occasional flashes of flair.
  7. 88
    Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland plumb the violence of the mind with slashing wit and shocking gravity. Happy nightmares.
  8. 88
    But this smart, genuinely creepy movie also feels real, which is why its horrors hit so hard. Fans of the scary stuff, run, don't walk.
  9. 88
    In place of elaborate sets, clever filmmaking gives the impression of a central London emptied of people and cars, to eerie effect - and this opening reel is nothing short of magnificent.
  10. It's “The Wizard of Oz” with a viral infection.
  11. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    88
    The genuine article, a hard-core horror picture from start to finish... Prepare to get seriously stresed.
  12. It's a zombie flick that moves -- no stumbling, staggering living dead here -- in an atmosphere that feels like a Gothic docudrama, and it's freaky beyond all reason.
  13. 75
    A tough, smart, ingenious movie that leads its characters into situations where everything depends on their (and our) understanding of human nature.
  14. It's not a pretty picture, but it won't be soon forgotten by thriller fans with nerves and stomachs steely enough to take its violence in stride.
  15. By the finish, the movie is getting by on little but adrenaline and audience goodwill. Still, that goodwill runs fairly deep, because, taken all in all, 28 Days Later is a superior motion picture.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    The look of the film, shot on digital video, is haunting and gritty. The cleaner, prettier look of 35mm would have detracted from the immediacy and sense of foreboding created in this artful blend of sci-fi and pseudo-realism.
  17. 75
    Solid performances, an intelligent script, and sure-handed direction. The result is a movie that kept me involved from start to finish.
  18. Around about the third act, the picture does what no self-respecting virus ever would -- relents, turns confused, and lets our immune system fight back with thoughts of its own, with distracting cavils about the logic of the plot and the slightness of the themes.
  19. [Boyle] shrugs off any intellectual pretense to rollick in a dead-on scare fest. On that level, 28 Days Later is indeed a frightfully good time.
  20. I think Garland and Boyle just want to make our flesh creep by showing someone else's flesh decaying. If that's their aim, they achieved it.
  21. Boyle's new movie is mostly a zombie fiasco, closer to the vacuities of "The Beach" than the scintillating social satire of "Trainspotting."
  22. 70
    Heir to a long tradition of apocalyptic scare stories, the film wears its influences proudly.
  23. 70
    Manages to be impressively unsettling given the flaws in its foundation.
  24. Reviewed by: Rich Cline
    60
    Director Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting") has a terrific eye, so the film as a whole is very well directed, with clever camera work that builds the tension and actually jolts us out of our seats a few times.
  25. There’s gore, all right, although the real terror lies in the tease, and the often dark, herky-jerky DV format ratchets up the tension to an almost unbearable degree.
  26. A swankily austere piece of jeepers-creepers sci-fi.
  27. 83
    Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, a veteran of low-tech Dogme films, work wonders with a digital camera, pausing to take in the beauty of the countryside or an eerily empty London…It's virtuosic without ever quite being showy.
  28. Boyle gives us some truly harrowing sequences and a succession of images that stick in the mind like a bad dream.
  29. On one hand a seat-o'-pants digital-video quickie designed for blunt trauma, and on the other a veritable index of classic genre-stuff, Boyle's film creates an acute sense of movie-viewing danger.
  30. The deep thematic concerns are never fully developed, but the characters are, and the story compels. Also, the movie's pretty scary.
  31. Mr. Boyle has hardly lost his sly, provocative perversity or his ear for the rhythms of unchecked violence, but he does seem to be maturing. It's as if, in contemplating the annihilation of the human race, he has discovered his inner humanist.
  32. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    80
    Boyle's ingenuity with the camera gives this fraught journey plenty of menace and pizazz.
  33. Fresh and edgy; the images of a wasted London and the details of a paramilitary organization in the countryside are both creepy and persuasive.
  34. 70
    It's undoubtedly a canny and clever twist on the standard zombie-attack yarn, but anybody who's making grand claims for 28 Days Later simply hasn't seen enough horror movies.
  35. 60
    Like his makeshift societies, Garland's tantalizing set-ups tend to unravel in unsatisfying ways.
  36. Creepy and truly suspenseful in some places, unintentionally comic or plain awful in others.
  37. 30
    Unrelentingly grim, unremittingly gross and unforgivably unattractive, 28 Days Later is an orgy of troubling images and bestial sound effects.
  38. Rarely has so scary a thriller been so well made, and never has digital video -- by the English cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle -- been put to grittier use.
  39. 50
    There are two drawbacks here. One is a shortage of superior zombies, although where one goes to rent extra zombies I have no idea...Second, we have a serious shortage of fright. [30 June 2003, p. 102]
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 354 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 161
  1. Oct 19, 2011
    6
    Sure, Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" is a wonderful, gritty, realistic example of what the world would be if there was a zombie apocalypse (which I highly doubt). But except for the pure horror entertainment and several political satire, it's pretty much another linear zombie film that really isn't any different from Romero's. Full Review »
  2. Aug 14, 2010
    9
    I really enjoyed this movie and the zombie origin story in provided. The actors in it do a great job. I was impressed with this one, and liked it equally as well as the second one. Full Review »
  3. Jan 16, 2013
    8
    Quite different to your American zombie movie as it focus more on survival rather than a zombie apocalypse. Lead by a great cast, in particular Naomie Harris who plays a bad-ass Selena. The zombies aren't even zombies, more-so humans infected with rage, which is a nice little twist on the genre. It is fairly slow-paced at times but tends to get quite exciting towards the end with a few shocks in there. Overall an impressive zombie flick from the Brits that also delivered an impressive sequel! Full Review »