ABC Film Challenge – Sci-Fi – # – 28 Days Later (2002) Revisited

Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Noah Huntley


Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

Tagline – The Days Are Numbered

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Modern Horror


Story: 28 Days Later starts in the aftermath of a virus being unleashed, Jim (Murphy) wakes from a coma in a hospital unaware of what has occurred, searching the empty streets of London, it doesn’t take him long to run into an infected member of society, where Selena (Harris) and Mark (Huntley) who explain what has happened to the country.

After an attack by the infected Jim and Selena are left alone searching the streets of London they discover Frank (Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Burns) hidden in an apartment building. Together the four of them target a radio transmission by the military where Major Henry West (Eccleston) answers their calls, but not everything is as it seems from the military outpost.


Thoughts on 28 Days Later


Characters – Jim is the man waking to the destroyed, infected ruled world, he like us learns the full extent of the damage and as the film rolls on he becomes tougher, prepared to fight back in this world. there isn’t too much more to Jim as a character other than this. Selena is one of the two people that rescue Jim, she is tough as nails, doesn’t blink when it comes to killing the infected be it the long-term infected or the ones that are about to turn. For the first half of the film she is a fantastically strong character being the one of the group you would fear the most, the more she opens up to others in her life and a future other than surviving, the weaker she becomes. Frank is a caring father, he has done everything to protect his daughter during the outbreak, he knows he needs help to get to the rescue point because going along would be too risky with just his daughter. Major West leads the military outpost, he has promised his men salvation, but it isn’t what you would expect it to be, strict leader, his men will follow all his orders.

PerformancesCillian Murphy got his big break after this film, his performances and transformation in his character are brilliant. Naomie Harris comes in here strong from the moment she hits the screen you see just how strong she is going to make her performance. Brendan Gleeson is great in the supporting role, while the same can be said about Eccleston too.

StoryThe story follows a small group of survivors in an infection riddled world as they look for safety. This is generally the purpose of all infected or zombie movies, it keeps things simple and makes the tension rise as we do get a chance to meet and support the group of survivors on their adventure. This is easily one of the more intense stories once everything goes on with the music adding to the final sequence of the movie. The story does have two endings with both being just as strong as the other too depending on how you believe the story should become.

Horror/Sci-FiThe infected bring us the villainous monsters in the film, they are runners, which means they won’t stop till they get you, only hiding or killing them will stop them, the infected are not the only monsters in this film though as we focus on the human affects of the outbreak. The sci-fi side of the film shows us just how quickly the world could change with an outbreak of a virus which turns people into the undead searching for food, in humans.

SettingsThe film is set in London to start with, getting the empty streets is an achievement in itself, the haunting idea of London being abandoned will be one you will remember, the travelling side, well we have seen before with the empty sequences being what makes this film stand out.

Special EffectsThe effects come from the practical world which we like to see because it makes everything feel real to us the audience.

Scene of the Movie –
The mansion final.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel Selena should have stayed stronger through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern zombie movies, it is intense at times and the visually creation of the world is amazing.


Overall: Masterpiece of Modern horror.





Annihilation (2018)

Director: Alex Garland

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay) Jeff VanderMeer (Novel)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, David Gyasi, Tuva Novotny


Plot: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Tagline – Fear What’s Inside

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Visually Stunning, Mind Testing Sci-Fi Spectacular


Story: Annihilation starts as Lena (Portman) is still feeling the effects of her husband Kane’s (Isaac) yearlong disappearance, only for him to turn up randomly. Kane has returned from a secret mission, which has bought Lena into the mysterious shimmer that has had strange effects with nobody known to return other than Kane.

Learning about a new team of scientist of military, Lena joins the team of Dr Ventress (Leigh), Anya (Rodriguez), Cass (Novotny) and Josie (Thompson) to learn the answers of what happened to her husband. As the group go further into the Shimmer the bigger the threats they find, something they have never had to explain as science isn’t working the way they are used too.


Thoughts on Annihilation


Characters – Lena is a biologist that has spent the last year wondering just where her husband has gone, only for him to return and finding herself drawn to a secret investigation. Lena uses her skills to help a team of scientists in this mysterious Shimmer where science isn’t what she has spent her life learning. Out of the five women team, she is the calmest, not picking a side, just planning on seeing where this science takes her. Dr Ventress is leading the team into the Shimmer, she has her own motivation for leading the team and does her best to keep the team together. Josie is the youngest member of the team, quiet genius inside, but not experienced in the field compared to the rest of the team. Kane is the husband soldier that went missing, returned he isn’t the same man, he is the motivation for Lena to go into the Shimmer.

PerformancesNatalie Portman is great in this leading role, she must balance a scientific mind, a broken-hearted character and truth hunter role, which she does with ease. Looking into the supporting cast we get great performance from all involved, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez.

StoryThis is a sci-fi mystery that will make you think, it follows a team of scientists that go into an unknown Shimmer, where the previous teams have never returned from. The rules of science have gone out the window which only add the questions we love to see and offers up the chance to be left wondering just where things will go next in this one. We do go through the idea that each member of the team changes through their experience and for scientist this does seem strange. This is what the cinema audience has been craving for, a story we need to see over plenty of the different popular movies.

Adventure/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe film uses the adventure elements of the film by taking our five women into the unknown land which has elements of fantasy as the mystery side of just what is happening in the sci-fi world our characters enter. For a sci-fi movie this both creates a wonderful world and poses the questions we enjoy asking ourselves about how the world goes around. We do get horror moments too which surprise when they hit.

SettingsThe Shimmer is one of the most interesting, visually beautiful places we have ever had a sci-fi movie, it feels like a new world even if it is set on Earth.

Special EffectsIf this movie isn’t an early contender for the Oscar for best visual effects, I really don’t know what else could beat it. This uses the effects to make this one of the most beautiful movies you will ever see.

Scene of the Movie –
The final act, will make you question everything you have seen, while also keeping you on edge through the film.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not being able to see this in the cinema! Not by choice either.

Final ThoughtsThis is the sci-fi movie of the year, the one I have waited for, the one I want to see again. It makes you think, it looks beautiful, it sounds the disturbing and engaging with each use of the sound and music, making this the must watch movie of the year.


Overall: Must watch sci-fi movie




Ex Machina (2015)

logoDirector: Alex Garland

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Corey Johnson, Oscr Isaac, Alicia Vikander, Sonoya Mizuno, Claire Selby


Plot: A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Sci-Fi Seriously Great


Story: Ex Machina starts with Caleb (Gleeson) winning a competition which involves him being taken to an isolated location where a high tech house is where his prize is located. Caleb gets to work with genius scientist Nathan (Isaac) a man that he has the utmost respect for and his boss. Caleb has to agree to a large amount of secretly clause in a contract so he can work with Nathan on the next level of his research.

Caleb has been selected to be the human subject to see how an artificial intelligence can be conceived as real, this means that Nathan has created it but he needs another human to see if his research has push the artificial intelligence levels to the point where humans don’t know they are interacting with a computer. The artificial intelligence in question is named Ava (Vikander) and Caleb gets to have his first conversation with her.

Caleb continues to his interactions with Ava we start to see how Caleb could be stuck in the middle of a battle between Nathan and Ava. Caleb is trying to figure out whether he can trust Nathan or believe what Ava is saying. Nathan continues to show off how he created Ava while Ava tries to make herself come off more human with her look and style of conversation. When Caleb starts to uncover the truth he is left wonder just what is actually real or what is part of an experiment.

Ex Machina has to go down as the sci-fi film of the year very early on in the year. The story is all character driven and is willing to be brave enough to ignore the robot laws we always seem to see in the building AI. The story is filled with twists and turn that really does keep you guessing to what will happen next. I will say that if you are expecting any real action you will be let down and even though the story does end up flying by it could end up feeling slow in parts. This is an interaction based film that is filled with conversation that all become very interesting that gets into the idea of whether creating an AI would be ethical to create to the level achieved. (9/10)


Actor Review


Domhnall Gleeson: Caleb is the skilled computer coder working for a brilliant company trying to reach the next level of the technology battle. He gets selected by the recluse boss to help with his research on artificial intelligence leaving Caleb having to have conversation with the creation leading to an unethical potential relationship. Domhnall gives a great performance but I do feel the American accent does come and go too often. (8/10)


Oscar Isaac: Nathan is the recluse genius boss who has selected Caleb to be part of the research experiment, where he gives away part of the secrets but not all of them as the experiment continue on. Oscar gives a great performance but I couldn’t help but think he was Mr Universe from Serenity with his character actions. (8/10)


Alicia Vikander: Ava is the artificial intelligence created to try and prove that it would in fact be possible to trick a human into thinking they are having a conversation with a fellow human being. She has become smarter than first thought and is enjoying the interaction with Caleb because he is something different to just Nathan. Alicia gives a brilliant performance in an early role but could this really be a star being born? (9/10)


Support Cast: Ex Machina only has supporting cast of previous models used to create the levels that Ava’s intelligence has got too.


Director Review: Alex Garland – Alex gives a great directing debut here with a film that is thoroughly engrossing from start to finish. (9/10)


Drama: Ex Machina manages to make nearly two hours of whether it is right or wrong to build the artificial intelligence seem like one of the most interesting conversations in recent film. (9/10)

Sci-Fi: Ex Machina puts us into a world where artificial intelligence could be used to create the most realistic ideas to date, trying to keep everything on a level that could be achieved rather than making it all theoretical. (9/10)

Settings: Ex Machina keeps the setting as just the isolated research facility for the one week we spend there. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Ex Machina uses brilliant effects to make the artificial intelligence creation making them have a human side while showing the mechanical side. (10/10)

Suggestion: Ex Machina is one that really should be getting watched by all but I would understand the fact the casual fans will find it slightly slow. (Watch)


Best Part: Keeping you guessing.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

Favourite Quote: Nathan ‘One day the AIs are going to look back on us the same way we look at fossil skeletons on the plains of Africa. An upright ape living in dust with crude language and tools, all set for extinction.’


Believability: The research might well be real, but how far it has gone is slightly harder to believe. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $27 Million

Budget: 11 Million Euros

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

Tagline: What happens to me if I fail your test?

Trivia: Caleb alludes to the fact that only Gods can create new life. The three main characters all have appropriate biblical names. Ava is a form of Eve, the first woman, Nathan was a prophet in the court of David, and Caleb was a spy sent into a new land by Moses.


Overall: Ex Machina is easily one of the best sci-fi films of recent years that pulls you into an experiment that you just don’t know how it will end.

Rating 90

28 Days Later (2002)

logoDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: Alex Garland (Screenplay)

Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Noah Huntley, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns, Luke Mably, Stuart McQuarrie, Ricci Harnett

Plot: Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Modern Zombie Gem


Story: 28 Days Later starts by showing a group of activists breaking into a laboratory where chimps are forced to watch some of the most gruesome sites in human history. This was designed to create pure rage and when the chimps are released an epidemic starts. 28 Days Later (title drop) we meet Jim (Murphy) who wakes up in a hospital, alone he searches looking for help but the hospital, streets and everywhere is empty. Wonder around the empty London Jim finds a church filled with infected that chase him before getting save by Mark (Huntley) and Selena (Harris) who also fill in the blanks of what happened.

Jim finds out the harsh reality of the world now but meeting Frank (Gleeson) and his daughter Hannah (Burns) gives them a chance to go to a radio signal left by the military. The group soon find the military holding up in a mansion lead by Major Henry West (Eccleston) but not everything is as it seems.

28 Days Later brings the modern infected zombie film to life in one of the best story ideas we have seen. It is good to see a story that the infection can only be spread rather than you turn when you die which is big change to all we have seen. The journey itself is been there seen that but what we get is a revenge film with infected around once we meet the military. This shows us that the enemy could come from all direction and our characters are never going to be safe in the world now. This is easily one of the best zombie based films in recent years. (9/10)


Actor Review


Cillian Murphy: Jim waking up alone in a hospital he wonders the empty city before being found by other survivors, with a group he heads to the military safe zone where he ends up having to fight to save the rest of his group from not only infected but the soldiers. Cillian gives a great performance and this put him on the map for bigger roles. (9/10)


Naomie Harris: Selena the nonsense survivor who takes no prisoners which we see from the moment her fellow survivor gets infected. Naomie gives a good performance showing that she was always going to be in bigger films. (8/10)


Brendan Gleeson: Frank caring father who has waited for support before taking his daughter to a radio signal he has been hearing. This character may only be a supporting character but his final moments are one of the most memorable turns in this genre history. Brendan does a good job in what is just a supporting performance. (8/10)


Christopher Eccleston: Major Henry West who is running the military unit that has been calling for the survivors but his motives are not what they seem. Christopher gives a good performance in the role. (7/10)


Support Cast: 28 Days Later doesn’t have the biggest supporting cast we have a couple of other survivors as well as the soldiers in the military unit. They all help as they show us what the characters are capable off.


Director Review: Danny Boyle – Danny does a great job directing this zombie classic that is easily one of the best in the genre. (9/10)


Horror: 28 Days Later uses plenty of horror elements with survival horror shinning through. (10/10)

Music: 28 Days Later uses brilliant scores to build the tension up through the scenes. (9/10)

Settings: 28 Days Later uses the settings really well to show how empty busy places could be when the world comes to an end. (9/10)
Special Effects
: 28 Days Later uses great special effects with the infected creation. (9/10)

Suggestion: 28 Days Later is one to watch for every horror fan out there. (Horror Fans Watch)


Best Part: Suspense building.

Worst Part: Nothing

Action Scene Of The Film: Jim breaks into the mansion

Kill Of The Film: Frank

Scariest Scene: Jim’s returns home


Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Has one sequel with talks of another always around.

Post Credits Scene: There is the alternative ending


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $82 Million

Budget: $8 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 53 Minutes

Tagline: His fear began when he woke up alone. His terror began when he realised he wasn’t.

Trivia: The scene where Jim and Selena celebrate with Frank and Hannah was shot on September 11, 2001. Danny Boyle said it felt extremely strange to shoot a celebratory scene on that particular day.


Overall: Brilliant Infected Film

Rating 90

New Releases – 23rd January 2015

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My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 30%
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A Most Violent Year violent year In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.

My Guess for Rating – 80%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
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Mortdecai mort Art dealer Charles Mortdecai searches for a stolen painting that’s reportedly linked to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
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Ex Machina ex machinaA young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.

My Guess for Rating – 75%
My Anticipation Rating – 90%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Movie Reviews 101 Pick of the Week – Ex Machina