• Film: 28 Days Later
  • Soundtrack composer: John Murphy
  • Original year of release: 2003
  • Number of tracks: 21
  • Soundtrack duration: 45 mins 2 secs
  • Tracks with vocals/distracting aspects: 5 Tracks (13 mins 57 secs) (Tracks 4, 7, 9, 20, 21)
  • Film score duration (with distracting tracks removed): 31 mins 5 secs
  • Suggested suitable book genres: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
DLS Summary:
Disclaimer – my adoration for this film is no secret. Every aspect of the film ‘28 Days Later’ (2002) in my humble opinion is absolute genius. Does that include the soundtrack? Yes, I believe it fucking does.

Firstly, the sheer variance within this album is exceptional. Every track has its own feel, its own unique atmosphere, its own specific part to play in the evolution of the film. Each track is also instantly recognisable and evocates vivid flashbacks of the particular scene which that part of the score accompanied.

In my opinion this is one of the very best soundtracks there is. For reading, if you leave off the above listed ‘distracting tracks’ then it’s again, absolutely spot on. Although, for some, the instant recognisability of the music and how evocative it is of the scenes from the film, might be counterproductive for reading – inadvertently mixing flashbacks of ‘28 Days Later’ with what you’re reading in your head.

For those familiar with the soundtrack that accompanies the film, it should be noted that the soundtrack CD does not include any of the track ‘East Hastings’ by ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor’, which formed one of the most recognisable aspects of the film’s score but can instead be found on their album ‘F# A# (Infinity)’.

The CD also includes enhanced bonus material – consisting of unseen footage, the film trailer, and a series of polaroids from the film.

DLS Review:
After an audio amalgamation of distorted snippets from the film’s opening credits, the soundtrack commences with a quiet and subdued piece played on guitar with delicate whispers of synthesised wind-like soundscape layers, together providing a suitably evocative backdrop for the soundtrack, until a short spat of thickly distorted guitar and drums come thundering in, delivering that ’28 Days Later’ theme music we know and love so well.

From here it’s more quiet and atmospheric music, with delicately plucked electric guitar strings echoing around a cold and empty room.

Track Four is a vocal only song sung by Perri Alleyne…

After that, we’re back into instantly recognisable soundtrack pieces, with a short track of delicately plucked guitar almost working up and down scales in a hauntingly distant and detached fashion. It’s as eerie as it is almost weirdly homely.

Then we’re flung almost headfirst into the escalating tension of the track entitled ‘Tower Block’ which is there purely to build up that magnificently intensifying tension within the scene, getting your pulse racing like there’s no frigging tomorrow (pun intended).

After being coerced along at such brain-jarring rate, the next track feels like it’s a million miles away, with haunting vocals singing words we can quite understand accompanied by synthetic organs, creating an evocative piece of music. Whether this track is a tad too distracting to read to, or not, is probably down to the individual.

Following that we’re back into the intensifying madness of another pulse-racing piece of escalating music before being emptied out the other side into a 1990’s sounding Brit Pop arcade song by the fairly unknown band ‘Grandaddy’.

We’re then submerged back into a more subdued and evocative score, with haunting and emotive soundscapes washing over us. The audio experience her is almost ghostly in its beautifully simplistic layering of singular synthesised notes, hanging within the quiet stillness of the air. It kind of sounds like aspects of Alcest’s music in many ways. Although, this stuff is absolutely perfect for reading.

From here it’s really all short musical snippets, moving between quiet guitar pieces of single-note plucking, to more of a soundscape and background piece, to pretty much a full orchestral track (Frank’s Death - Soldiers).

Track Eighteen ‘In The House – In a Heartbeat’ stands out from the pack, as a longer, fuller track, which builds with intensity throughout, delivering an escalation of drama and dominance, not only in the building of its pace but also in the increasing volume and density of the music. That is until its seemingly abrupt end which drops us into an ice-cold bath of singular guitar plucking leaving us wondering what the hell just happened.

Track Twenty-One is another song with vocals and all that. Furthermore, whilst the final track on the CD is entirely instrumental, it’s nevertheless probably too much of a ‘song-based’ track (with guitars and drums etc) to compliment reading with. So again, added to the above ‘distracting tracks’ list!

As a soundtrack for reading to:

The soundtrack as a whole:

© DLS Reviews

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