28 DAYS LATER: Danny Boyle (SHALLOW GRAVE, TRANSPOTTING) directs this post-apocalyptic thriller set in London after a deadly, Ebola-like virus has swept through the city. Jim (Cillian Murphy), a bicycle messenger who was in an accident just days before the outbreak, is one of very few survivors who awakes 28 days later to a city that has been evacuated and is now utterly lifeless. He wanders the vacant streets of London feeling as if he's trapped in a never-ending hallucination. However, upon entering a church that is littered with dead bodies, he discovers that he is not alone--"the infected" are still living. They are violently sick, fast-moving, bloodthirsty zombies who travel at night in ravenous packs. Jim manages to escape "the infected" and locate a band of survivors--Selena (Naomie Harris), Hannah (Megan Burns), and Frank (Brendan Gleeson)--and they join forces searching for solutions, clinging to hope that somewhere healthy humanity thrives.
A gripping and suspenseful horror film with indie production values, shot on digital video, 28 DAYS LATER has a pleasing immediacy. Its actors are primarily young unknowns, its special effects consist of beautiful photography overlays and flashes of light with lots of shadow play, and its settings are rich and dramatic. The soundtrack is one of the film's truest strengths, with excellent music from Brian Eno, Blue States, Grandaddy, and Godspeed You Black Emperor guiding the action from the first minutes through to the last.
OMEN: A staid American ambassador (Peck) and his wife are heartbroken when their child is stillborn, but their heartbreak is only beginning when they adopt an orphan. As the boy grows, disaster surrounds him, beginning with the suicide of his nanny, and as the bodies pile up, his horrified father begins to believe that the boy is evil incarnate and must be destroyed. The unique climax paved the way for the two popular sequels, "Damien - Omen II" and "Final Conflict." A fourth was intended, but as interest in the franchise declined, the project was scrapped. Academy Award Nominations: 2, including Best Original Song ("Ave Satani"). Academy Awards: Best Original Score.