While Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” from 2002 is without a doubt one of my favorite horror films of all time, one of my favorite movies of the first decade, and my favorite film from Boyle, more so I love the soundtrack that comes along with the film. The soundtrack is such an obsession of mine I have managed to sit through the entire film until the credits end to hear the music, and can fondly recall listening to the soundtrack in the waiting room of the theater before the press screening of “28 Weeks Later.” I mean they were giving critics cupcakes, water, and a bad ass press book with newspaper clippings from the sequel and the entire time all I could think was “Cool! The music from the first movie is playing overhead!”
What many directors and studios fail to realize these days is that every element is very important for a horror movie, especially the music. The frantic punk rock complimented “Demons,” Dario Argento and the Goblins perfectly complimented “Dawn of the Dead,” and surely enough the compilation of chamber music, electronica, and choir music from the amazing John Murphy brilliantly compliments an already excellent piece of genre filmmaking. While the movie would possibly have been just as much a masterpiece if there were UK pop tunes playing the whole time, Boyle and Murphy turn the soundtrack in to a character, and the soundtrack is quite superb all on its own if you’re the kind of movie fan who enjoys soundtracks.
Sadly, as brought to attention by fellow horror goon Jeremy Knox, the track missing is “East Hastings” by Godspeed You Black Emperor, the song playing while Jim is walking through abandoned London that’s oddly missing from the track lis. In spite of that, for many years since its initial release this soundtrack has become rather iconic. “The Beginning” is a full on assault on the senses juxtaposing the carnage with the calm before the inevitable storm that we saw in the prologue to “28 Days Later.” There’s the tune “The Church” yet another really horrifying representation of a key moment in the film when Jim has discovered the world has gone completely fucking nigh entering in to the church that resembles the bowls of hell. This is one of the few songs in the compilation that is very important to the development of the plot and without them, would not be as powerful. “Jim’s Parents (Abide by Me)” is an incredible and haunting performance of the Christian Hymn, “Then There were 2” is under a minute long, but one of the most memorable pieces of music in the film mainly for its use of three chords that channel John Carpenter and sum up the distress of Jim and Selena’s loss.
“Tower Block” is a wicked and nihilistic manifestation of Jim and Selena’s struggle to make it through the tower block where they meet Frank and Hannah while being chased by the infected, “Taxi (Ave Maria)” by Perri Alleyne is angelic, “AM 180” from Grandaddy is one of my favorite songs of the album that plays while the group are shopping at the market. It’s a fantastic little bit of happiness in a dreadful state of affairs and plays well as a single. “No More Films” is a great short intermission and guitar solo, there’s the heartbreaking track “Frank’s Death” that speaks for itself, and of course there’s “In the House – In a Heartbeat” the most famous song in the entire soundtrack that has become a standard for many films since its premiere in Boyle’s opus. It’s been played in the intro to the sequel, as the theme music to various short films from indie directors, and was even featured on the first trailer to “Kick-Ass.” The reason for this is primarily because of its recognizability but for its incredible build up that begins with pianos, works in to guitars, and then drums and just completely swells up with emotions and impact conveying horror, tension, panic, confusion, and indicating that the shit has promptly hit the fan without turning back to normality.
“In the House – In a Heartbeat” is a wonderful representation of the turmoil the final three survivors endure in the climax, and can be transplanted in to mostly any tension filled film. Now while many prefer the previously mentioned song, my favorite, my absolute favorite track in the entire list is “Season Song (Rui Da Silva Remix)” from Blue States which is not only haunting, spooky, and sharply made, but sounds incredible when blasted. Played in the closing credits, it’s an excellent capper to an already near perfect film and I pump up my television whenever I see the film. It’s like a mint after a fine dinner. And you have to love the hopeful “End Credits” song, an upbeat rock song that works well among the dread and pain of the entire musical assortment. Again: An amazing soundtrack for an amazing movie.