London is a graveyard. Once-packed streets are deserted. Shops empty. An eerie silence reigns. And, no, there's not a tube strike. There's a zombie invasion.
Well, technically the monsters of Danny Boyle's bloody horror don't qualify as zombies. As pedants are sure to point out, they are not the living dead but 'the infected' - poor unfortunates who have caught a deadly virus which turns them into slathering beasts intent on killing anything in sight. Do they remind you of anything? Oh yes - zombies, that's it.
But contrary to horror movie tradition, these beasts are fast. Let's face it, movie heroes don't find sidestepping one shuffling, decomposing automaton all that difficult - it's the relentless crush of a mass of the blighters that gets 'em in the end. The creatures in "28 Days Later", though, are rage-fuelled humans with unusual strength and speed.
It's not an original idea - George A Romero's "The Crazies" tweaked the formula back in 1973 - but in the hands of "Trainspotting" director Boyle, it's the basis for a stylish and occasionally very scary movie.
The script, from "The Beach" novelist Alex Garland, is far from special, throwing a ragtag bunch of survivors on a road trip to reach safety at Christopher Eccleston's military base. The dialogue's clunky, the scenario's derivative. But, despite Boyle's decision to shoot on digital video (an ugly medium), the zippy, brutal action sequences are gripping, the violence sometimes shocking.
If you're a zombie aficionado it may all prove too familiar, but casual punters should prepare for jumps. You'll be scared to (living) death.