Patrick McGinlay's Internet Tendency

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September 4, 2003

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It's Horror Thursday here on McGinlay's, as the studios have decided to release this week not one, but three horror movies. So let's start with 28 Days Later.

The British film industry is excellent at doing dramatic films even if they are based in another genre like horror. It must be something to do with the heavy theatrical background of the actors and script writers.

So here's our plot. Some animal liberationists break into a research lab in London and release a bunch of monkeys. These monkeys, however, have been infected with a super rage virus thing which can be passed on through their blood. 28 Days Later… Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma in a London hospital to find the hospital deserted -- and the rest of London as well.

By degrees he comes to learn that in the past 28 days, the blood-borne virus has swept across England, Paris and New York, killing many and turning most into murderous zombies. After coming across a handful of uninfected people, Jim and his companions find that Manchester is where the uninfected are gathering. So off they go...

This film is excellent. The tone is set quite early on and our characters are developed really well. The overall need for survival that we instinctively have is well explored and the ruthless and realistic decisions our characters have to make allow the audience to feel a sense of reality in this situation. One of the other reviewers told me that there was originally a more gruesome ending to this film, but even with this one it's still awesome.


Unlike 28 Days Later, Undead is not a serious thriller -- it's proud to be a B-grade gorefest.

Now reviewers like Harry Knowles and Margaret and David loved this film but the only way I could describe my opinion is with a "eh". I love B grade zombie films, actually, I'm well known for watching really bad films just to see how bad they are. And apparently this was meant to be a tongue in cheek "homage" to these films. Quite frankly I didn't see it.

Don't get me wrong: the idea that a meteorite makes all the people in the small town of Berkeley suddenly become zombies, and only a few are left to save the world sounds like a great zombie film plot. But it just didn't live up to my expectation. The zombies looked good and it does have some really funny moments like, Marion, the town loony, who is prepared to fight the zombies with a three barrel shot gun and what seems to be an endless supply of guns is my favourite thing of this film but as I said it's really a film that makes you go "eh" when you leave it.



It feels really mean to say anything bad about a film like this.

The script is weak and the acting is sub-Neighbours, but the effects are very good for the budget.

I haven't seen many zombie films, so I can't compare, but I have seen some wacky, silly, amateurish movies and this is one of them. I enjoyed others more, though (most blaxploitation movies have better music. Is there a market for a zombie film with a lot of dirty funk in it?).

There were a few genuine laughs, some scenes were nicely done (the ending's pretty cool) and there were a lot of uniquely Australian jokes and character moments which I appreciated. However, it generally drags a bit, and it goes for an EVIL DEAD kind of cool but doesn't quite make it.

I think most of the kudos the film gets will be because it's great that the directors (the Spierigs, brothers) got the film made without government assistance and that they got it a no-foolin' cinema release. They deserve a lot of respect for that. They also deserve to be given ten million dollars and an excellent script. Hopefully somebody will pony up.



The other day Adam went to me, "When do you think they're going to make a horror film based in a Big Brother-type house?" Well, wait no longer my friends: My Little Eye finally answers that question.

So five young people apply to live in an isolated house together for six months whilst their every move is filmed by numerous cameras. Each has their reason for wanting to be there -- fame, money, adventure. The prize is $1 million but the rules are if one person leaves, everyone loses. But when suddenly the housemates are taunted to leave by letters about deaths in the family as well as skeletons from their closets it becomes a morality test of greed versus compassion.

I really liked the first hour or so of this film. It set up the characters, the isolation of where they are and the tension of not knowing when they are getting out. But the last thirty minutes of this 95 minute film are standard slasher action which really annoyed me. So maybe the next time they make one of these films they will leave in the other 30 minutes it needs.


28 DAYS LATER stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns and Brendan Gleeson. It's rated MA and runs 113 minutes. It opens today.

UNDEAD stars Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay, Rob Jenkins, Lisa Cunningham, Emma Randall and Dirk Hunter. It's rated MA and runs 104 minutes. It also opens today.

MY LITTLE EYE stars Sean Cw Johnson, Jennifer Sky, Kris Lemche, Stephen O'Reilly, Laura Regan, Bradley Cooper and Nick Mennell. It's rated MA and runs 95 minutes. Would you believe it also opens today? What an age we live in.


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