The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Dead Only Quickly

Watched 28 Days Later the other day. I know, old film, everyone’s seen it, but it could be worse, I watched The Godfather Part II the other day too and that’s even older. I could be blogging about that. In fact, maybe later I will.

Anyway, I was so impressed watching the first five minutes of 28 Days Later – that opening scene with David Schneider and the monkey – that I immediately had to rewind and watch it all over again, with subtitles, so I could read the dialogue like in a script. It’s a thing I do. I prefer reading scripts to watching them; well, no, ‘prefer’s not the right word. Enjoy-just-as-much.

The rest of the film did not disappoint. For some reason I’d got the impression it was yet-another-Zombie-film. I’ve never quite ‘got’ Zombies because they are both medically implausible and so slow-moving as to be unthreatening. How do you escape from a Zombie? Walk briskly.

But no Zombies here. They’re humans with a particularly virulent strain of rabies. They can run. They will keep going even if in pain. Now that’s scary.

And it was scary. It was also extraordinarily, I’m-sorry-I’m-going-to-have-to-pause-this-and-have-a-cup-of-tea-or-I’ll-have-a-cardiac-arrest suspenseful. Totally gripping. And – let’s take it as read I’ve written out the word ‘brilliantly’ here twenty times – written. Flawlessly structured. Beautifully plotted. Fabulously directed. And there were some good actors in it, too. If only Survivors had been made like this...

What’s fascinating, with DVDs, are the deleted scenes. They’re encouraging, for writers, to see that even the best writers occasionally get stuck or end up following a half-baked idea down a blind alley. And that they write bits which don’t work or turn out to be redundant. It means there is hope for all of us.

Unless, of course, the Zombies catch us first.

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