28 Weeks Later Essays

The great filmmaker Albert Maysles once explained the power of nonfiction moviemaking by saying, “When you see somebody on the screen in a documentary, you’re really engaged with a person going through real life experiences, so for that period of time, as you watch the film, you are, in effect, in the shoes of another individual. What a privilege to have that experience.”

A privilege, yes, and a privilege that’s outsized for us today. We now have access to thousands of documentaries online, allowing us all kinds of shapes and sizes of shoes to step into. To extend our personal knowledge of human experience. Thousands of little empathy machines. Small windows into lives that aren’t our own.

Here are 25 of the best documentaries that you can stream right now.

1. 13TH (2016)

Following the breakout prestige of Selma, Ava DuVernay constructed an exploration of the criminalization of black individuals in the United States, crafting a throughline from slavery to the modern private prison boom. Eschewing an overdramatized style, DuVernay calmly, patiently lays out facts and figures that will drop your jaw only until you start clenching it.

Where to watch it:Netflix


For those only familiar with Aileen Wuornos through Charlize Theron’s portrayal in Monster, Nick Broomfield’s documentary offers a considered portrait of the human being behind the murderer. In his first film about Wuornos, The Selling of a Serial Killer, Broomfield considered her as a victim of abuse and betrayal, with her image commodified. In this follow-up, he takes us all the way to the day of her execution, wondering how anyone would think she was of sound mind.

Where to watch it:Netflix and Amazon Prime


“Too big to fail” entered the lexicon following 2008’s bursting housing bubble, but while the world’s largest banks skated through, Abacus Federal Savings Bank was deemed small enough to prosecute. Steve James (of Hoop Dreams fame) has crafted an intimate, Oscar-nominated look at the Chinatown bank that became the only financial institution to face criminal charges in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, starting at the family level before zooming out to the community and country.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime

4. BEING ELMO (2011)

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, puppeteer Kevin Clash shares his childhood growing up in Baltimore and the road to a career as a furry red monster on Sesame Street. It’s a delightful peek behind the curtain to see how magic is made, featuring interviews with legends like Frank Oz and Kermit Love. Pairs well with I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story (which is available to rent on Amazon).

Where to watch it:Netflix


Both quaint and prescient, the televised debates between William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal during the 1968 Republican National Convention show us a midpoint between idealized civic discussion and the worst instincts of modern punditry. This sly documentary explains the force of this rivalry, its ironic popularity as televised circus, and the aftermath of all the clever insults.

Where to watch it:Netflix


A bright palate cleanser that shouldn’t be overlooked just because it isn’t emotionally devastating. The success of this film is its ability to transfer other people’s obsessions to the viewer. Tom Hanks, John Mayer, historians, collectors, and repairmen all share their abiding love for the click-clack of a device that defies obsolescence. You may crave a Smith Corona when it’s all over.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime


Patience is rewarded in this thoughtful, dazzling cinematic quilt of footage collected from 25 years of Kirsten Johnson’s career as a cinematographer. Her lens takes us to Brooklyn for boxing, Bosnia for post-war life, Nigeria for midwifery, and more.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime

8. CARTEL LAND (2015)

Raw and fearsome, Matthew Heineman’s documentary puts you in the boots on the ground of the Mexican Drug War. This gripping look at Arizona Border Recon and the Autodefensas of Michoacán shows what happens when governments fail citizens who are in the line of fire.

Where to watch it:Netflix and Amazon Prime


This isn’t the documentary you’d expect it to be. Kitty Green took an experimental approach that’s less about rehashing the true crime sensationalism of the headline-owning murder of a child beauty queen and more about how many stories can be contained in a single story. Green auditioned actors from JonBenét Ramsey’s hometown and, in the process of making several dramatizations, interviewed them about what it was like living in the area during the 1996 investigations (and what they think really happened).

Where to watch it:Netflix


There’s nothing like hanging out with Werner Herzog in an ancient cave. Herzog filmed in the Chauvet Cave in southern France to document the oldest known human-painted images, which is fortunate for us because the cave isn’t open to the public. It’s a wondrous nature documentary about us.

Where to watch it:Netflix

11. CITY OF GHOSTS (2017)

Another brutal hit from Matthew Heineman, this documentary carries the audience into the Syrian conflict through the eyes of citizen journalist collective Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, which both reports on war news and acts as a counter to propaganda efforts from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Some documentaries are interesting, but this one is also necessary. 

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime

12. DARK DAYS (2000)

Before Humans of New York there was Dark Days. This delicate, funny, mournful project is a true blend of reality and art. Marc Singer made it after befriending and living among the squatter community living in the Freedom Tunnel section of the New York City subway. Despite never making a movie before, he decided that shining a light on these homeless neighbors would be the best way to help them.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime


Covered in spray paint and questionable facial hair decisions, this documentary displays the transformation of Thierry Guetta from clothing shop owner to celebrated street artist, but since Banksy directed it, it’ll never shake the question of its authenticity. Real doc? Elaborate prank? Entertaining either way.

Where to watch it:Netflix

14. GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO (2017)

It’s incredibly honest. As much as an inside look into the life of a global pop superstar can be. Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) spends a healthy amount of the movie standing around without makeup, waxing wise and humorously before jumping face-first into her work and fanbase. The film focuses on her time crafting her Joanne album and her Super Bowl halftime show, but they could make one of these every few years without it getting stale because Gaga is a tower of magnetism.

Where to watch it:Netflix


In the middle of gang violence in Chicago, CeaseFire attempts to use members’ direct experiences to ward off new brutalities. Dubbed “violence interrupters,” Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams, and Eddie Bocanegra are at the heart of this vital film about ending community violence by employing disease-control strategies, and the Herculean task of reversing systemic criminal activity without losing sight of the humanity of the people affected.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime


Let’s hope that this meditative, sumptuous documentary never leaves Netflix’s shores. The portrait of then-85-year-old Sukiyabashi Jiro’s quest for unattainable perfection is both food porn and a somber-sweet consideration of the satisfaction and disquiet of becoming the best in the world at something and, somehow, striving for better.

Where to watch it:Netflix


When someone tells you it can’t be done, show them this. The simple title both celebrates and belies the smallness of one person fighting a system. Joe Piscatella’s doc follows the explosive growth of the Hong Kong protest movement engaged by teen activist Joshua Wong when the Chinese government refused to act on its promise of granting autonomy to the region, and it is a dose of pure inspiration.

Where to watch it:Netflix


Joshua Oppenheimer and Anonymous’s sequel to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing features an Indonesian man whose brother was murdered during the 1965 purge of Communists talking to his brother’s killers while literally checking their vision. His bravery and composure are astonishing, as is the insight into the many rationalities unrepentant men use to shield their psyches from their own heinous acts. A peerless piece of investigative art.

Where to watch it:Netflix


An absurdist rabbit chase and a deliberate provocation, writer/star Louis Theroux’s punk documentary poked the bear of the infamous religion in order to get access to it. They auditioned young actors to recreate real-life events described by ex-members, got denounced by the church, and even got into a “Who’s On First”-style argument with a member (“You tell him to turn the camera off then I’ll tell him to turn the camera off!”). Serious subject matter by way of Borat.

Where to watch it:Netflix

20. THE NIGHTMARE (2015)

This documentary by Rodney Ascher should be seen by everyone and somehow be banned from being seen. Not content to profile people suffering from sleep paralysis—the condition where you can’t move or speak while falling asleep or awakening, yeah—Ascher riffs on the hallucinations that sometimes accompany the ailment. As if being frozen weren’t enough. The result is a true story that’s just as effective as a horror film.

Where to watch it:Netflix

21. PUMPING IRON (1977)

A landmark docudrama about the Mr. Olympia competition, this is the film that launched a wannabe actor from Austria into the public conscious. Arnold Schwarzenegger is brash and beautiful in this celebration of body perfection which finds a balance between joy and the teeth-gritting agony of endurance. Great back then, it’s now a fascinating artifact of the soon-to-be action star/politician.

Where to watch it:Netflix

22. STOLEN SEAS (2013)

Constructed using real audio and found footage of the 2008 hostage negotiation aboard a Danish shipping vessel, filmmaker Thymaya Payne’s film isn’t content to simply shine a light on the horrific reality of a Somali pirate attack; it strikes to build a contextual understanding of what these attacks mean for the rest of the world. For all of us.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime

23. STORIES WE TELL (2013)

An absolute personal stunner, actress Sarah Polley directed this docudrama about the scariest thing you can reveal to the world: your family. It’s an emotional, gamut-spanning search for identity that requires reconciling conflicting views about your parents and digging through buried secrets. Polley bringing them into full view, for all of us to see, is a selfless act that resulted in an outstanding piece of art.

Where to watch it:Amazon Prime


A modern classic of nonfiction storytelling. Through archival footage, interviews, and reenactments, documentary royalty Errol Morris used this film to argue the innocence of a man destined for lethal injection. It tells the story of Randall Dale Adams, who was sentenced to death for killing a police officer in 1976, despite evidence that the real killer—a minor at the time—had committed the crime. A must-see for fans of Making a Murderer.

Where to watch it:Netflix

25. TIG (2015)

When you get diagnosed with cancer, the natural thing is to perform a stand-up act about it the same day, right? Comedian Tig Notaro became famous overnight when her set confronting her same-day diagnosis went viral, and this documentary from Kristina Goolsby and Ashley York focuses on the year that followed. A rocky year that deals with death, a new career chapter, a new relationship, and possibly a new child. It’s okay to laugh through the tears.

Where to watch it:Netflix

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Headscratchers / 28 Weeks Later

  • Why is Don set up as a craven, cowardly bastard by the movie for being forced to abandon his wife? I'm sorry, but the previous movie has already shown that taking on an infected unarmed is pure suicide, and the only hope of survival if you're unarmed is to run away or barricade yourself in a safe place. Don does exactly that and still barely makes it out. But the movie sets up Don as a bad guy because he did what any person would do in that kind of situation, by refusing to get himself infected trying 'save' his wife from a hopeless situation she put herself in and then tear her to shreds too. The movie then "punishes" him for this later on by getting him infected because of his wife. The very exact thing he had tried to save himself from. Riiight.
    • Also, why wasn't Don the main character? He's the only interesting character in the movie!
      • I thought the movie was going for a Psycho-like fakeout, where the audience was supposed to think Don was the main character who'll survive all the way to the end (whereupon he'll probably make a heroic sacrifice to save his kids, probably under similar circumstances to the incident where he couldn't save his wife) until ... surprise!
    • He's pretty much set up as being cowardly because he lied to his children, again I don't think its the worst idea in the world.
    • I guess I'm the only one who thought his obviously real regret for his actions was supposed to make him sympathetic. I felt BAD for him when I realized he was going to be infected.
    • He's not actually set up as a coward, exactly, at least not in a negative sense. By abandoning his wife, he survived to look after his kids. By going back to her, he ruined everything. Yeah, the film had a pretty bleak moral landscape.
    • The false premise seems to be that Don is portrayed as a coward. He isn't. He's just the character who's been stripped of his Shining Armor and Grim Determination and hasn't been given anything else. In a war zone. With zombies. So Yeah.
    • Considering the war zone conditions he faced, it's pretty obvious to this ex-military troper that Don was clearly suffering from both survivor's guilt and PTSD. It's very likely that regardless of pragmatism, he sees himself as a coward and tries to justify his actions to get some peace of mind.
    • Alternate reading: The movie is presenting Don from Don's own perspective. However reasonable his actions might have been, you'd have to be a sociopath not to feel survivor guilt after that. He almost certainly considers himself a coward.
    • I'm more disturbed by the troper's question. What kind of a man would abandon his WIFE, the woman he supposely LOVED? She was the mother of his children. Did he marry her for the sex??
      • A man who had no chance in saving her. His choices were run and maybe survive, or turn back and die.
  • I kept on wondering why I disliked the mother character, Doyle, and Scarlet so much. They were very heroic characters and we're supposed to like the heroes. Then I remembered the Serenity quote that "a hero is someone that gets other people killed" and it all snapped together.
    • If the wife hadn't been a hero and let the kid in, the infected wouldn't have found them. If the wife hadn't tried to be a hero and save the kid she wouldn't have been left and the end of the movie wouldn't have gone down as such. If Rose and Doyle hadn't been so determined to save the kids, the kids wouldn't have crossed the water and France would be safe.
  • How did Don get out of that room to attack the soldiers? There was a thick pane of glass (possibly bulletproof?) that he couldn't break through, and doors needed keycards to open. Also wouldn't the soldiers be able to see the obvious carnage through the huge window and know something was up?
    • It's a bit of a stretch, but the scene at the beginning where Don traps his kids in the revolving door for kicks (yep, shining example of parenting) explains how he let himself out and subsequently got the drop on the guards. Supposedly, he has all-access field-sensitive keycards that work by proximity, and not through physically-operated door handles.
  • Speaking of which, what the heck was Alice thinking? The cottage they were hiding in had dozens of infected swarming into it and she runs off to search the house for a small boy who had run off to hide. While it'd suck to leave the kid behind, Alice definitely should have known better at this point after living in infected Britain for weeks.
    • She saw the kid as a surrogate for her own kids and saw herself as their guardian who has no higher purpose in life than protecting her children. It's not rational, per se, but it's something a lot of parents would do (Hell, it's something a lot of pet owners would do) in real life.
  • How did Alice escape the infected? It's true she was infected by a bite and therefore might be considered 'one of them', but we see a flashback where she's being chased through the woods. If she's still being chased by that point, how did she make it out of the house without being mauled to death?
    • This is really more of an Epileptic Trees, but I think the infected let her leave alive. I know they have no higher brain functions left, and there's no "Zombie Master" to guide them or restrain them, but she is considerably different from normal humans already— she's immune. What better way to propagate the virus than to let her live? Considering how quickly her son became a carrier, all she'd have had to do was dodge and hold them off for 20-30 seconds so that they'd see her as a fellow infected... at which point, they'd "chase her" because they would think she had seen an uninfected human.
      • That hardly makes any sense if you remember the situation they were in. The room she's in is about to be invaded by a group of infected, and the entire shack scene showed very well how vicious they tend to be when attacking. Even if they could somehow tell when she was already infected, it's simply unbeliavable that she managed to hold off 3-5 infected unarmed and come out of it with only a single visible bite on her body. The movie seems to imply that she somehow managed to escape the shack unscathed, only to be bitten later on in that chase through the woods. I don't know which one is harder to believe.
      • What's even worse is he wasn't even her son, it was just some random kid who entered the story and screwed everything up for them.
      • The "son" being referred to is Andy, not the boy in the cottage.
    • If the rest of the infected were able to see her as one of their own, it would stand to reason that her then infected husband would have as well. But we all know how that turned out.
  • Why in the world did the US military leave an infected woman in an unguarded, unmonitored cell in the safe zone overnight instead of immediately destroying her? Why did they shut off all the lights when the alarm was raised, making it much harder to spot the infected? The actions taken by the US military were so inept it was ludicrous, from the easily breached 'containment areas' to hiring soldiers who are too weak-kneed to shoot civilians in a 'Code Red' emergancy.
    • Leaving the woman unguarded was a pretty dumb idea, but they kept her alive because she is the only known person to be infected with the Rage virus and keep her sanity. She's necessary as a test subject.
      • I'm pretty sure that the military general in charge of the recolonization zone actually ordered her to be killed, over the protests of the medical officer, because she's too much of a security risk. Which just adds to the Idiot Plot, because the man acknowledges the massive risk and yet still leaves her unguarded.
    • More to the point, though, why in God's name would they attempt to contain her right in the middle of the main base? Prudence should dictate that any sort of quarantine area should be geographically isolated from the main populace. In this case, they had the whole of Great Britain to work with. Instead, they put her in the middle of a building right in the center of the only populated area left. Idiocy piled on idiocy.
    • Unguarded possibly because if she did turn, the guards, following protocol, would most likely need authorisation to shoot to kill her. No point in waiting for them to become extra ammunition for the infected whilst waiting for a response. Don't forget she was in a high security sealed medical booth, which Don did open, hence his subsequent escape. Also, the whole point of the clear zone is that there is no Infected blood there, thus the quarantine can't be outside the safe region, but I do get what you're saying.
      • While I understand that the military would need protocols for permission to fire, it would be foolish to have the same standard for the infected. They know that an infection can get out of control very very fast, and therefore would have a general 'shoot an infected on sight' rule. Heck, they knew she was there and a threat, they could have permission beforehand. Secondly, there should have been guards there to prevent a guy like Don from wandering in.
    • Let's look at this from the other perspective. The military has been pulling in survivors for weeks. Not a single one of them, to this point, has actually been a threat to anyone. The virus is, to all appearances, gone. No carriers have been detected. She is "obviously" not infected, because she isn't a raving mad-thing trying to attack everyone she sees! Most of the soldiers probably considered putting her in quarantine at all to be over-zealous rule-following at that point. Scarlet detects that the mother is infected, and runs to tell the commander, but nobody else knows there's a problem at that point, and mom is locked in a secure room, strapped to a bed. Scarlet has little reason to be concerned that she might escape, or that someone would sneak in. Everyone is reading these events from the perspective of the movie audience, who knows that something horrible is going to happen, because they paid good money to watch a horror movie. The soldiers are making jokes about having nothing to shoot because they're bored as hell. There are certainly some poor decisions made in this movie (many of which have been pointed out here), but they don't seem quite as stupid as they're being made out to be.
      • She was brought in almost a month after the previous rescued survivor. The entire place was monitored by security cameras, so they should already know about the bite mark on her arm. Even if she wasn't showing any immediate symptoms, everybody in that base was extremely suspicious of her even before the doctor could confirm she was carrying the virus, hence why she was bound to that chair in the first place. They had every reason to be careful, but because this is a horror movie they just seem to conveniently forget about the most dangerous person in that entire base.
      • Sure, we know something will happen because it's a horror film. The characters should have prepared for those things because one of the most powerful countries in the world was annhilated in a month. They should have planned for every possible outcome, have dozens of contingencies, and forseen every single problem they came across in the film because they knew how high the stakes were and how badly the original containment failed. Just because those problems weren't immediately apparent the second they arrived does not mean they don't exist or will not eventually appear. Even the damn Boy Scouts have the motto of 'Be Prepared'. And what happened wasn't some bizarre out-of-left-field occurance like the actual walking dead, but very ordinary problems that we already plan for, like asymptomatic carriers and security breeches and panicking civilians. This is basic Quarantine 101!
    • You're all forgetting one very important thing; They had absolutely no time to react. From the moment Don arrives to collect his kids, the following happens; Don finds out Alice is still alive, Scarlet suspects, and soon confirms, that she's a carrier, then goes and informs General Stone, who immediately orders Alice's execution... just as Don finds her in quarantine. If anything, Scarlet not getting someone to keep watch while she went to confirm Alice's carrier status is the only glaringly stupid decision anyone makes here.
  • And here's another thing: Why did the US military treat the population like sheep to be herded as opposed to arming them to defend themselves? Common sense should make it obvious that in a situation where anyone might get infected, the only way to counteract an infection while it is happening is to arm everyone so they can shoot any infected the moment they see them. Instead, they leave them totally unarmed, herded together in a single chamber without a single soldier in sight to protect them?
    • If they armed the civilians, I'm sure they'd be firing idiot balls at each other. Although it didn't make sense to keep them all stuffed in a single room, stuffing them all in a single room with weapons is just asking for someone to panic and start shooting others.
      • Really, they could have only allowed people back to England unless they had weeks of responsible survival and firearm training, just so they could defend themselves without panicking.
      • Yeah, giving panic-stricken civilians firearms would've just been asking for it.
      • A bunch of civilian corpses because they all panicked and shot each other is better than another zombie horde. I would have considered it worth the risk (and maybe trained them, as referenced above).
      • You're missing the point. The NATO forces supervising the repatriation and protection of the British civilians had a plan in case of the worst case scenario: Code Red. If things got really bad, they were given clearance to give the order to kill everything moving. Arming a populace that you may be killing later on would allow them to kill you back. Not smart.
      • Indeed it may have been, or it may not have been, since simply owning a gun or even taking a few shooting classes doesn't mean you know when and how to use one in times of duress and in chaotic situations, such as during a mass evacuation amid an epidemic. Adding guns to the equation wouldn't guarantee success, but it would guarantee collateral damage from barely-trained, badly-trained, mis-trained, and/or panicky civilians. All of this is moot, anyway-a much better way to deal with Infected intruders has already been discussed below.
      • Unlikely, given that the much more highly-trained and disciplined soliders with night vision were screaming about how they couldn't tell infected from civilian. If they couldn't control the horde or tell who to shoot, random guy who's been to some weekend classes certainly can't. That was why the Code Red order came down: because the soldiers - the professional snipers on the rooftops - couldn't take out the infected.
  • It is established in the previous film that while the infected are agile,they don't really utilize fine manipulation/other skills due to their mindless nature and rage. Then WHY did a FREAKING HELICOPTER try to gun down the survivors while they are driving their CAR? Infected can't drive! There was an order to "Kill them all" issued by the government early in the film, but that was a totally different context.
    • Because it's the American military and Americans fire on friendly Brits! It's more of the same illogical stupidity seen everywhere else in the film.
      • The order is to kill them ALL. The point isn't simply that they may or may not be infected; the fact that they will almost inevitably BECOME infected. It's actually the most logical part of their plan - the illogical part comes in not having more safeguards to keep the situation from getting that bad. The context of the kill them all order is irrelevant. They're not so much trying to stop the infection from taking hold as it has become too late, so now they must stamp it out. It's kind of like burning the area in a forest fire's projected path - you take away the fuel so it cannot continue.
    • Remember that the "modified" Code Red was an order to kill ALL civilians. The commander gave that order when he realized that not only were the infected spilling out of control, but also that ordinary people could be carriers. That's the main reason Alice was fumigated when she came out of the infected zone - it was already procedure to take precautions against "carrier infection" even before the military actually KNEW it was possible.
    • As the track on the soundtrack says aptly, Abandon Selective Targeting. Even thier own soldiers on the ground were targets, remember poor Doyle?
  • Why do idiots keep refering to the Rage-infected citizens as zombies? They aren't. They aren't dead, or undead, they are alive, but infected with pure Rage. They are not zombies. They have memories of their life. They continue to remember things. They still feel pain and remorse. They can be killed in the same ways un-infected people can, from a single gunshot to the chest, to being poisoned and gassed. They aren't zombies, just people who are really, really angry on a primeval level. Are people to dumb to figure it out, even though it is explained in the plot, or too lazy to notice? Or are they so dense that they have to label every virus in movies as being 'zombie'.
    • What you're doing is splitting hairs, possibly to seem superior about something that everyone already realizes anyway. There's no point in arguing the semantics of what exactly constitutes a zombie in the context of the movie, (unless you're doing a really bad impression of The Simpsons Comic Book Guy) since it's pretty clear it belongs squarely in the genre as a "Zombie" movie. Vampires in the Blade movies are likewise infected by a virus and very much alive (not to mention being killed by all manner of conventional weapons) but it doesn't make those who refer to them as Vampires any of the epithets you're hurling around willy nilly.
    • It's probably because, for all intents and purposes, they really are almost exactly like other 'fast' class zombies. Maybe it the movies had actually done something to illustrate the differences, people would see them as something separate from the undead.
      • Like what? Have the father follow his children without attacking them? That happened. Killing the infected in conventional ways that would kill the average human? That happened. Have them actually die of natural causes and starvation? That happened. Have them retain a level of their intelligence?with immunities to the virus? That happened. The only thing even remotely zombie-like was that the infected could infect others, but the same is true for most viruses and diseases. They are people, alive and intelligent as ever, just really, really angry. If being angry makes a zombie, then most people on earth are zombies.
      • You say follow without attacking, I say stalk, which some zombies do. As for killing zombies in ways that would kill humans, most 'fast class' zombies are fragile like that to make up for their speed. I have no idea where you're getting the 'they have intelligence' bit, though plenty of zombies, fast and slow, retain intelligence (heck, I can recall one that learns how to use a gun). And normal zombies do the whole 'some people are immune' thing as well. These are all zombie traits.
      • Sigh. In the film, Don follows his kids around, not doing anything until the very end. Even then, he does not attack the children straight away. There is even one point where he watches from afar and then leaves. If he was a zombie, he would not just stand around doing nothing whilst someone was a short distance away, he would journey towards the food. As for intelligence? Word of God. And zombies don't retain intelligence; they aren't sick people, they are dead. Dead people do not retain intelligence or memories. What examples do you have of other so-called 'fast' zombies being killed by something as simple as being gassed? And what zombie movies have people who are immune? Don't say Resident Evil; Alice's strain was mutated. She is infected, but in a different way. The virus works in the way in which it was originally intended. She had no natural immunity.
      • On the 'dead people do not retain memories' bit, Day of the Dead and Land of the Dead would like to have a word with you. Both by modern-zombie codifier George Friggin Romero.
      • They're called zombies because zombies have an entire genre of movie dedicated to them and Rage virus victims don't. It's an imprecise way to classify the film, but it works for some people because of the similarities in tone, implications and setting.
      • "Zombie" does not mean "undead" or "dead"; it means a mindless person. Under voodooism (you know, where the word "zombie" comes from) a zombie was just a regular person under the domination of a Bokor's magic. In the truest sense of the word then, the only modern movie that could be called a true "zombie movie" is The Serpent and the Rainbow. The Romero model of zombie (which Romero took mostly from VAMPIRE folklore) is NOT the only model of zombie. People can try all of this genre gerrymandering that they like but it just looks laughably nitpicky.
      • Exactly. No, they're truely undead zombies, but it's a zombie movie in spirit and more-or-less fits the genre.
      • And to be honest, if I was in the position that those guys are in, I'd want something pretty simple to call the enemy- 'mindless and really angry people' doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
      • How about "Infected" Its short and sounds better than zombie.
      • Since 28 Days Later, I think that Infected has become the de-facto name for zombies-that-are-not-zombies-because-they-are-alive, it worked for Left 4 Dead.
  • Why don't the infected eat each other? Even animals and humans resort to cannibalism when faced with starvation. And why don't they attack each other, if not for food, then out of pure rage?
    • While not addressed in the film it is possible that the flesh of the infected is toxic and would be pretty undigestable. That and the virus might cause the victim to emit a scent that makes a victim not want to eat another infected to allow for better spread. If that's the case that's a pretty nasty virus.
    • In fact, forget starvation - if the Infected cannot ingest food or drink, wouldn't they have died within a matter of DAYS from dehydration, rather than weeks from malnutrition?
      • The majority of water the body loses is lost through excretion (feces and urine), so if the infection simply stops the digestive process altogether it'd slow down dehydration while also making the victim unable to process food and drink.
      • Not eating would only slow down defecation, reducing water loss by about 4%. Urination is a separate physiological process; shutting that down would cause death from accumulated blood toxins within days, especially in a starving subject. The Infected must've been slurping up water from puddles and so forth on the sly.
      • The infected were shown to be vomiting blood so frequently in 28 Days Later, they should have been at risk of dying of dehydration in less than 24 hours.
    • Remember, the virus was Rage, eating the victim wasn't their goal, just killing them to satisfy their rage, though the food was just a bonus. Word of God (28 Days Later: The Aftermath comic) states that Infected detect non-Infected by smells of deoderant, perfume etc, Infected aren't prone to splashing some on, given their somewhat dying, bloody bodies. Perhaps they simply don't feel the Rage towards their own kind?
      • But people fleeing and hiding from infected wouldn't be prone to splashing some on either. Sure the stuff you splashed on before the virus outbeak would take time to wear off but the same goes for the stuff the infectees splashed on before being infected. By the time an infectee stopped smelling like deoderant, the people hiding from him would have too. For that matter, most children and many sick people (including people who've been lying in hospital beds for 28 days), a good percentage of people who work at home, and, well, let's just say "the stereotypical science-fiction convention attendee" don't necessarily wear perfume, deoderant, cologne, etc., especially not every single day. There would be far more survivors if only people who'd applied perfume, deoderant, etc. were being targetted. Not to mention the fact that they'd either ignore any non-infected they see at a distance or through a glass window (because they couldn't smell them) or they'd charge anything they saw - including other infectees - until they got close enough to smell them.
  • The whole movie was written in the era of everyone blaming America for everything. The writers deftly managed to find a way to make a virus invented by British scientists America's fault. While not actually ret-conning it to being an American-made virus, they brought the US military in to be the idiots of the movie. Hopefully this helped the whiny far-left writers blow off some steam and maybe their next project won't be such a transparent "America Sucks"-a-thon
    • Well, if you put your far-right rage aside for a moment... a pair of British kids left the "safe zone" to retrieve their infected, British mother, and her British husband subsequently tongue-hockeys her and gets himself infected. The Americans are only responsible in a very roundabout sort of way for the whole thing, and in fact the American commander had the right idea, which was to just kill the infected woman and destroy her body. Which would have prevented the whole mess from starting off again, if not what what that silly British dude did.
  • Seconded. Really though, what was so unAmerican about the portrayal of the US military? Do you really think that if this situation happened that the military wouldn't take the actions that they did? They were in a hopeless situation. Giving the final kill order was the only option that they had left.
    • Just to explain how the American Military was portrayed as idiots we can start with the part where two children were able to escape the protection zone, the way they gathered the population in a room with one entrance, the overall lack of guards.....anywhere. While the "British" characters might have been stupid, a lot of their actions were motivated by emotional content. The American stupidity came from straight up stupidity.
      • Also, far-left? I must have fallen asleep during the bits where Robert Carlyle advocated collective ownership of means of production.
      • Both movies make a pretty good case for why gun control is a suicidally bad idea. Or as Jim from 28 Days Later would put it, "This is a really shit idea. And you know how I know? because it's a ''really obviously shit idea."
      • The movies make a case for why gun control is a suicidally bad idea in a world where zombies (or rage virus infectees, if you prefer) exist. Since they don't in the real world, if proving that point was the movie's goal (which I don't think it was) it would be a great example of a Space Whale Aesop. The movie no more "proves" that gun control is a suicidally bad idea than werewolf movies "prove" that not silver-plating everything is a suicidally bad idea, or the average slasher movie "proves" that having sex is a suicidally bad idea.
    • Did no one see the British soldiers in the previous movie?
  • Why are only American troops shown in the movie if US and NATO forces are involved? Where are Britain's Continental neighbors? Why don't they send troops?
  • It's quite strange that the helicopter so easily makes it to France at the end. One would imagine that the French are quite eager to prevent the infection from spreading to their country, so it is more than likely that any unidentified aircraft would simply be shot down, while passengers of regular flights would at least be quarantined upon arrival.
    • It's not that far from London to French soil, and IIRC they had a military pilot flying a US Military helicopter. Any allied officer would probably be hesitant to fire on Americans without clear authorization, which may not have come down fast enough. On the other hand, they helicopter was wrecked, so it's entirely possible that it * was* shot down, and the infection spread from people attempting to help the injured kids.
      • The British Channel is the last barrier between The Virus and mainland Europe, Africa and maybe even Asia. At this point, having observed the events in the UK, everybody must be aware that this would lead to the near extinction of whole continents. I think, it can be safely assumed that the French would pursue a strategy of "shoot first, ask questions later" in that case.
      • Exactly. Cause a minor international incident, or possibly introduce the worst virus on the planet to your country? Hrm.
      • Yes, but would a French SAM missile battery operator necessarily know that the situation had so throughly deteriorated in the last day that they should fire at will at all helos coming over the channel? And wouldn't the military-trained pilot flying the helo specifically try to avoid being shot down? And isn't the whole point moot anyway, because the helo crashed? They may have very well swatted it out of the sky.
      • The helicopter WAS shot down, hence the scene with the shot down helicopter.
  • The authorities picked the worst possible emergency plan for this situation. They're worried about a disease outbreak so their solution is to put everyone in the same room together. When you do that you allow a single infected individual to infect everyone else in one go, which is pretty much what ended up happening in the movie. They would've been better off telling everyone to lock themselves in their rooms.
    • A room secured only by a standard set of fire doors, no less. Oh and kept in darkness, to keep them nice and panicy. At least if it had been a reinforced bunker, then maybe it wouldn't have been such a wall banger.
      • Seriously. When the alarms go off, everyone goes to the nearest windowless room (or even preprepared saferooms) and locks the door. They form a roster, communicate to central command and wait for the all-clear. Boom. Nice, isolated population, and you can determine who the Infected are by the process of elimination, so you can communicate back who exactly to watch out for. Problem solved.
      • One would think the first three rules for re-settlement would be this: 1: Ensure all living quarters are isolated and able to be completely secureable, 2: Have each of these quarters stocked with enough emergency supplies to keep the occupant alive for a few weeks, and 3: when alarm sounds, everyone goes back home and locks themselves in until further notice. Then all the army has to do is use a check-in system or physically check each room to see who survived and who didn't after everything is relatively secure.
  • For such a horrible disease that they contained to a single island why not hit it with a neutron bomb or give it a mass chemical weapon bath to ensure it wouldn't get to the rest of world. Gee look a virus that spreads so fast its overtaken a whole nation and then some. Nuke the island bet the virus dies in the atomic fireball.
    • Honestly, this bugged me too. You'd think that they'd quarantine the island for at least a few decades and spend that time razing the entire country to a cinder. But then apparently in 28 Months Later (the planned sequel) the virus has managed to get to Russia. Guess these movies are set in a world where people haven't invented bombs.
    • Fallout. So glad you don't run the world.
      • Fallout from a high enough airburst is minimal, but then again, try explaining that to the politicians.
      • Maybe fuel bombs then?
      • Fallout from a single bomb is much better than a worldwide pandemic. Plus, if done high enough (where it should be done anyway, because it increases the effective radius) little to no fallout is produced at all.
      • May I point out that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving urban centers today?
    • And a slight increase in thyroid cancer rates downwind of Britian is so much worse than inevitable zombie apocalyse.
    • Razing a country built to house 60 million people would produce enough smoke to lower global temperatures for decades, causing worldwide famine. It would be the equivalent of a nuclear war/winter.
    • Since the infected are still alive and still human, they should still be susceptible to nerve gas, which dissipates quickly, leaving no lasting danger.
      • Indeed. Which is why they used nerve gas in 28 Weeks Later. The thing that's throwing people here is that the Code Red would have worked, if not for a military pilot breaking orders and bringing a carrier over the channel.
    • Two words: Neutron Bomb. Kills non-plant life while leaving infrastructure mostly intact (well, more intact than a regular nuke, anyway).
      • That's an extreme over-simplification. In reality, a Neutron Bomb is virtually indistinguishable from a normal nuclear weapon (it is a nuclear weapon) in effects - the only real difference is that heavily shielded people (such as those within a NBC-protected tank) would be lethally irradiated, even though they were protected from the blast.
    • I agree that decontaminating Britain first would have been a real good idea. The problem is, Britain is huge. And nobody here seems to understand the problems that disinfecting a large area from a biological weapon (which Rage effectively is) presents. Neutron bombs would be useless (see the above explanation), because there's no indication that the Infected would be radiation-vulnerable. And the area affected by any sort of a Nuke is tiny, compared to the area of Britain as a whole. Nerve gas and other chemical weapons also might kill the Infected, but that's a big unknown, and the cleanup from them afterwards is even worse. Frankly, about the only sane way would be to develop a specific anti-Rage virus compound, put it in an aerosol, and spray it over a (small) section of the country. The military would then occupy that section, run around and spray the anti-Rage on everything, wait a couple of weeks, then repeat that on an adjacent area. Frankly, disinfecting a country the size of Britain would almost certainly take decades. There's simply no quick-fix.
  • Why the hell did they try to resettle England a mere 28 weeks after the outbreak? There's nothing in England that is so important to take that risk, and I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to step on England again after escaping certain death. The rest of continental Europe would be far too nervous to allow anyone there anyway, considering it was a miracle it was contained only to England. Raze the damn island and leave it alone!
    • England, Scotland and Wales were all down. I hate to tell you but there is a hell of a lot going on over there. Important stuff.
      • Not after the infection has wiped out/evicted the entire population.
    • There was no need to write off Britain as a whole. All the infected had died, except for one woman who was immune, which no one could have predicted. But even that situation was perfectly containable, as she wasn't actively trying to spread the infection. The only reason it went wrong was that the Americans failed to keep her isolated and under guard, especially when they knew her husband was in District 1.
      • No one could have predicted it? Asymptomatic carriers are not uncommon today, nor are virus mutations (see the panic over Swine Flu). When you're dealing with an extremely dangerous virus, things like mutations, asymptomatic carriers and other complications would be at the top of your list of priorities. Plus they have no idea of how long the virus can survive outside the human body, if it can/has jumped to other animal species, and so forth. You can't say a situation is 'containable' when they've had barely 28 weeks to study this virus and what it can do. There is nothing in Britain so valuable to take risks with such a deadly virus. If the movie was set around a team sent to study the virus and not rebuild Britain, that'd make more sense.
      • They knew what the virus was and what it could do, it was released from a laboratory.
      • Yes, but the additional backstory tells us that the creation of the Rage Virus was an unintended accident. Even then, a virus running free in the outside world is totally different from it being tested in a sterile lab.
    • Because it was simply free land? Why do other countries invade another, for the resources, simply. London already had buildings etc, so why not?
    • For morale people! Remember how the world felt with 9/11? Now imagine that happened in the majority of the British Isles! People want hope, rebuilding and everything-is-over clean ups. The inclusion of civilians is clearly a political move, and it shows from the attitude of the soldiers (they think the civies are burden). Well that backfired.
    • "Nothing in England so important"? A completely abandoned nuclear power with millions of refugees swarming around in its neighbours? London is one of the co-capitals of the world economy (along with New York), so you can imagine the valuable information that it holds, information stored in highly vulnerable electronic storage that degrades extremely quickly, assuming it isn't below the water table and thus destroyed as soon water pumps fail. Luckily, the UK's nuclear arsenal is confined to its submarines (which I assume would be quickly directed to France or the US), but there are 24 nuclear reactors in the UK that certain parties would be very interested in ransacking. Going back so quickly is one of the few realistic elements in the film.
      • What is the deal with needing refugee camps anyway? There wasn't enough time for any meaningful evacuation before the borders were closed with extreme prejudice, most of the people that were out of the UK would have been out of it anyway. There is more than enough British Ex-pats out there to put up the few tourists that would have been caught out the country. And even if there was the need for refugee camps, why tents? There are huge caravan(trailer parks) sites and hotel complexes that do nothing but hold UK tourists in the summer seasons. All plumbed and with all mod cons, assuming that there were need for refugee camps then you could house all the tourists in those complexes with room to spare. Especially in Spain where the kids were mentioned as having spent the time.
      • It's unclear how many people became Infected, but it doesn't seem anywhere close to a majority of the island-even if 10% of London's population were Infected, that would be 755,000 people running around-so where are they? 10% of Great Britain would be 6 million people-where are they all? Did they all run out into the country? And if it was a majority of the population, where did 30 million+ Infected go? It's a bit of a catch-22, because if they didn't get Infected, they must have evacuated...but how did millions of people get clear of Great Britain in less than a month?
      • Boats. In 1940 Operation Dynamo evacuated over 338,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk in 9 days. The infection began in the South East of England and even at a fast run it would take several weeks to spread North and West. There are a lot of ports in Britain.
      • Those aren't good reasons to bring civilians back in to settle so soon. Commando teams/military to retrieve information, secure important locations, etc, sure, but not families.
    • Of course there's important stuff in England. The correct procedure for dealing with that is to send the US military in and loot it all. (Also, electronic information? Have you never heard of offsite backups? Because, trust me, anyone with information worth saving would have.)
      • There is plenty of info that is not backed up because it is sensitive, copyrighted, or it's too expensive (small businesses, anyone?). And it's not just London-a country has plenty of information that is backed up only within the country itself. You think the British back up all of their data in Northern Ireland or Gibraltar? And if you're sending in troops to loot, then why not have them clean up since it's apparently safe enough for them to be there in the first place? And what about the refugees? Their homes still exist, yet they're in cramped, dirty refugee camps. They'd want to go home at the earliest opportunity, especially when they hear that US troops are running around on the ground with impunity. The countries spending billions of dollars to support them would want them gone, too.
      • Sensitive/copyrighted information would be backed up with the same security. Anyone who thinks backups are too expensive for businesses of any size needs to extract their cranium from their hindquarters as that cost is inherently minuscule in comparison to the cost of losing vital data (and for that matter, the government would have taken as much of that data with them as possible). Sending in troops (which should be geared appropriately for the various transmission possibilities) generally means the opposite of "it's safe for everyone". Just because people WANT to go back doesn't mean you let them risk wiping out the vast majority of the world's population. There was absolutely no valid reason to resettle that early. And for that matter, they should have had ships off the island for most people, and especially some quarantine vessels for research purposes.
      • This troper has actually worked for the kind of organizations that work with sensitive information. Yes, backups are made, but as someone else already pointed out, these backups are usually confined to the same country. There are things that are legally restricted from being backed up or transmitted offshore in many countries, especially financial data. I'd also guess that stuff from the MoD would also remain within the UK, with maaaybe some backups in Scotland or Wales. Unless HMG has taken the precaution of backing up everything in Northern Ireland and Gibraltar (or even Falklands?), there's a good chance that everything has gone poof.
    • They mention early in the movie that Zone 1 only has a population of 15,000 people. Don's kids were the first children allowed in, and the military was not happy about their arrival. I get the impression that what we see in the movie is the initial wave of contractors sent in to rebuild, not a full-scale resettlement.
  • Why do people run around with infected blood on their skin, especially their face. Wouldn't you want to wipe it off as soon as humanly possible?
    • That drove me nuts. Only one drop has to get in your mouth and you're screwed.
      • Or an eye...
      • Well the infection spreads at near light speed, so if you get blood spattering your face and a few seconds later you are still you then it is probably best not to go wiping it around risking it reaching an open wound or eye. Plus blood dries fairly quickly, when it is wet is when you are still fighting the infected which is not the time to worry about personal cleanliness, and once you've stopped fighting them you are probably focusing on staying hidden from them so it drops down the to-do list.
  • The final shot of the movie shows a mass of infected "zombies" rushing out of a tunnel overlooking the Eiffel Tower, showing that the infection has spread to Paris. Um, how? I understand that the main horde of the infected ran into the Chunnel (The underwater train tunnel connecting France and England), although I can't fathom why. There's really nothing drawing them into it, but I digress. Seeing as how the Chunnel exits in Calais, France and Paris is over 150 km away, were the French simply not informed about the massive wave of infected individuals carrying the most deadly virus known to man rushing underneath the sea towards their country? One has to think that there would still be some fortifications underground from the last time England was quarantined, or this should have happened in the original movie.
    • Assume the infected ran full speed the whole way there (due to the virus making them unable to be tired or some random idea) and give them a speed of say...15mph. That 90-ish miles could have took them about 6 hours to run it. Could they have properly sealed of the Chunnel in that time? Probably, but let's say they were just carrying the Idiot Ball and filled it with soldiers with shoot to kill orders. Zombie Movies 101 says that ends badly.
      • You're both forgetting one important thing- Andy is technically infected too, and since the ending is 28 days after the kids and Flynn escape London, that's plenty of time for Typhoid Andy to accidentally spread the infection all over again. This of course assumes you're okay with the chopper getting across the Channel.
    • They ran into the Chunnel? I assumed they just ran into the London Underground, which is why they bumped into Don. I also figured the French infected were sired by Andy somehow accidentally infecting people post-crash.
      • If the helicopter crashed, maybe a first-responder tried giving him CPR, and then got infected via the saliva?
    • I'll bet the moment the Infection in 28 Days Later was known, the Chunnel was blown away, flooding entirely, to prevent the only form for Infected to cross to the mainland. Even if they couldn't make it through the tunnel, one could have got on the Eurostar by accident. Most likely, the Infected had come out of a Metro station, having already being spawned days earlier from Andy spitting/kissing/bleeding on his sister/doctor/pilot near Calais...
    • In 28 Days Later Selena mentioned that infected were spotted in Paris and New York after just a few days. Seeing as it couldn't have spread to New York by walking it could've spread a different way. Another thing, maybe some bird had gotten blood on them and then flew to Europe.
      • Actually, that was confirmed to be false reporting. It's only in Britian.
    • The whole point of the end of the movie was the the little guy was infected, but what asymptomatic. It was kinda the point.
    • In any case, you're all forgetting Movie Geography.
  • You know, most of this stuff I either ignore, didn't notice, or can rationalize away. That's fine. What's not fine is the fact that this page doesn't have a listing for that absolutely retarded sequence where Flynn uses his chopper to puree the infected. I'm not even sure that's physically POSSIBLE- maybe one or two, sure, but a whole heaping horde of them? What? No. What? Goddammit.
    • It's not possible at all, even with only one. Helicopter Blender fails miserably in real life.
      • It's made even worse when you consider that the whole reason he was doing it was to try and kill the innocent civilian hanging onto his helicopter. The infected he managed to kill were just a bonus.
      • No it wasn't. Before the aforementioned Helicopter Blender moment, Doyle clearly says "Flynn, we're gonna die down here! Do somethin'!" And, while Flynn doesn't want to take the other people, he IS trying to save Doyle. The helicopter had no weapons on board, so he tore the infected apart with the primary rotor.
      • What always got me was, it is known that the infection is spread by a single drop of blood getting into the human body by open wounds, eye fluids, mouths, etc. So what do you do? Turn the air into an infectious blood fog while piloting an open-sided helicopter. Was he trying to get himself and his buddy infected?
      • According to this message

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