No, this film isn't a sequel to Sandra Bullock's detox film, 28 Days nor a meditation on the "Donny Darko" tagline, "The world will end in 28 days..."
At a local screening, the scary date movie crowd was initially mesmerized, but Americans like their gore fests without a side order of allegory. As the "happy" ending unreeled, the word 'suck' echoed throughout the lobby.
Can DVD marketing ploys jump-start a film once it reaches the point of diminishing returns? Since alternate endings have struck pay dirt with the DVD generation, Fox raised the ante and has added one. Still, the film's die-hard fans vented their rage on the film's Web site: "Can we say bait & switch?! I am pissed-anyone with a past movie stub should be able to see the newly released version free."
No such luck, big spenders! If you haven't seen it, by all means, go! If you have, wait for its DVD release or catch it at the dollar movie house next month.
I prefer this new ending over the "happy" ending which still makes me wince. Filmmaker Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland considered two other endings - one filmed, the other on storyboard. (Both are included in the recently released English DVD of the film.) The filmed alt ending has the male character replaced by a food-providing hen in the cottage scene, but he reappears in the final deus-ex-machina ending. The "radical" alternate storyboard ending rethinks the story and eliminates the entire paramilitary subplot. When the survivors reach the location of the radio message, Hannah's father Frank is still infected. However, instead of killing him, the others bind him, hoping to find a cure. When they arrive at the lab where the infected monkeys were contained, the person who sent the radio broadcast claims that if a volunteer exchanges blood with an Infected person, that person will be cured, but the Good Samaritan will become infected.
In a final frame, a bound, infected person glares at a bank of monitors projecting images of violence (think the film's opening scene or the rehab of Alex in "Clockwork Orange").
A few quibbles: Shot in DV, the film is often too grainy for sharp focus on the big screen. The film wears its English dialects on its sleeve and desperately needs subtitles. Hopefully, the DVD release will address these flaws. •
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