#8: 28 Days Later 2002, Dir. Danny Boyle
It's hard to believe, but there was a time when zombies weren't everywhere. By 2002 it had been 17 years since George A. Romero had released his last Dead picture (Day of the Dead) and though there had been a few minor entries in the genre since then, nothing really stuck. It wouldn't be until both Shaun of the Deadand the Dawn of the Dead remake being released two years later, that the zombie infection would really take hold. But in 2002, Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting, would bring the genre* back to it's social and political roots. 28 Days Later follows a young man who wakes up in a hospital after the entirety of London has been destroyed by an infection that turns people into violent shells of their formers selves. Jim, our protagonist, makes his way through the deserted city, trying to piece together what has happened. He soon comes into contact with both infected humans and a man and woman who save his life. He is soon taken to the London underground and filled in on how society was destroyed while he was unconscious. Throughout the film, we witness acts of violence not entirely by the hands of those infected, and as always, we learn that the true monster to be feared is humanity. 28 Days Later does an excellent job with world building and character. We put our own face on Jim and Selena, their survival and terror, become our own. We also see humanity's more repulsive side in Major West as his version of safety becomes even more horrifying than the prospect of infection. This film brought zombie movies back into socially conscious cinema, making the horror of infection an allegory for the sickness already inside the human soul.
*Some horror/zombie fans may quibble about weather or not this film is a proper zombie movie. As someone who can be pedantic about certain subjects, I understand the argument, but ...seriously? Are we still talking about this?