I was under the impression that this film was a horror film. After watching it, I cannot say I agree. It certainly has some horror like moments, but in the end, it's more of a science-fiction, end of days kind of film. The movie basically follows a young man that wakes up in the hospital and realizes that no one is around. They have all died or been infected by a virus that causes them to become zombies. More Evil Dead than Night of the Living Dead, the director Danny Boyle captures the dread the cast feels but there are no major shock moments. The horror comes more from contemplating what life would be like in an environment like this. As is usual for a Boyle film, the camera angles are interesting and unique, and I must applaud the makers of this film for not rehashing a tired plot that we have seen a million times before. Particularly of note are the shots of downtown London without a soul around. Now that was creepy.
The cast is made up of mostly people I have never heard of with the exception of Brendan Gleeson as a father trying to get himself and his daughter to safety. He does his typically superb job with this limited role. Also of note was Christopher Eccleston, a Boyle favorite (you may remember him from Shallow Grave). I swear he is the spitting image (and sounds just like) Ralph Fiennes. It's creepy. He does a fine job. The lead, played by Cillian Murphy, inhabits his character well, but in the end, I kept wishing it was Ewan McGregor. I guess it was nice to see a fresh face - I just know Ewan would have kicked ass in the role. Oh well.
All in all, it was worth my four bucks. Considering the usual crap that makes it to the silver screen each year, it's nice to see new and engaging stories being done. I think Boyle and company could have done a slightly better job here, but I can't really complain with the final product. Given that this was a stretch for him as a storyteller and director, I'll give him credit for a growth attempt and await his next effort with eagerness as I can't recall ever disliking anything he's done thus far. 28 Days Later is a worthy rental, but don't expect it to be that really scary movie you want to rent for Halloween. That is all.