As the horror world celebrates the 20th anniversary of arguably the most influential zombie film of the 2000s, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, the prolific British director is making noise about potentially returning to his roots with another zombie epic. Boyle has, over the years, hinted at wanting to complete the trilogy implied by the titles of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later—which he did not direct—with a movie that would obviously be titled 28 Months Later. It’s an idea that is hard to shake, given the immense stature or the Alex Garland-written original, which we called the best horror movie of 2002. As we wrote at the time:
Danny Boyle’s film is a starkly beautiful and lonesome vision of societal collapse, using the empty London streets of its opening moments (and a beginning essentially stolen by Robert Kirkman for The Walking Dead) to beautiful effect. Cillian Murphy’s Jim wanders through an eerily deserted city, calling to mind multiple Twilight Zone episodes but also the chaos in America that followed the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001—the shots of walls of “missing” posters grimly evoke the same sense of loss and hopeless confusion that permeated U.S. culture at the time, with the attacks still fresh in the nation’s collective memory.
Now, according to both Boyle and Murphy in a new interview with NME, the time could be just about right to make 28 Months Later a reality. The script, in fact, is just sitting there waiting to be made. According to NME:
Boyle, who most recently gave us a Sex Pistols biopic series, teases how Garland penned 28 Months Later a couple of years ago with “a lovely idea” at the centre of it. “I’d be very tempted [to direct it]. It feels like a very good time actually. It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it until you just said it, and I remembered ‘Bang, this script!’ which is again set in England, very much about England. Anyway, we’ll see… who knows? It might come back into focus because one of the things that’s happening in the business at the moment is it has to be a big reason for you to go to the cinema, because there are less and less reasons. It’s hard for companies distributing films and for cinema chains to show films, they’re struggling to get people into the cinema unless it’s something like Top Gun: Maverick or a Marvel. But a third part would get people in, if it was half-decent.”
Boyle makes a depressingly accurate point, in saying that audiences are essentially only interested in properties they already recognize this point, but people would be likely to recognize a title like 28 Months Later, so it could very well work out to this project’s benefit. And likewise, Murphy also seems quite interested in the prospect of the sequel, though he points out an obvious problem: He’s 20 years older, and “28 months” is just over two years. Of course, his character Jim did almost die at the end of the original film—and does die, in the director’s cut—so perhaps the experience has simply aged him more than his years, right? We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn him into a shell, something like the character he played in A Quiet Place Part II.
Hopefully before too long, we’ll see some more forward movement on 28 Months Later, but in the meantime this anniversary is a perfect opportunity to revisit the original.