July 07, 2003 12:00 PM

Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson

Critic’s Choice

A youth (Murphy) wakes up in a deserted hospital and heads out onto the streets of London, which are eerily empty. A deadly virus, called RAGE, has wiped out much of the population. A blood-borne virus, it rapidly spread to humans after animal activists liberated infected primates from a medical laboratory less than a month earlier. Now the uninfected few struggle to stay alive and avoid the RAGE-infected, who roam the streets, near-zombies looking for other humans to attack.

With SARS still in the news, an acute sense of timeliness makes this smart, thinking-person’s horror film by director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) painfully scary. Is this how it starts? Is this how we’ll behave? 28 Days Later is a mind-bending look at a future one hopes never happens. (R)

BOTTOM LINE: Strong stuff

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