The soundtrack to Danny Boyle's radical, zombies-as-rageaholics horror film 28 Days Later has a fittingly eerie, volatile score that captures the desolate paranoia of a post-apocalyptic London as well as the worst behavior of its undead denizens. It was rumored that Godspeed You Black Emperor! was going to score the film but that honor went to British composer John Murphy; although GYBE!'s music appears in the film and seems to have influenced some of Murphy's pieces, particularly "Rage" and "In the House - In a Heartbeat," which intersperse maelstroms of guitars with bleakly atmospheric passages. Likewise, the prickly-yet-dreamy guitars on "No More Films" and "Jim's Dream" also recall Radiohead as well as Godspeed. Tracks such as "Tower Block" and "The Tunnel" occasionally succumb to predictable-sounding widdly guitars and video-game-like beats and synths, but the claustrophobic dread of "'I Promised Them Women'" and "The Search for Jim" is both subtler and more effective. Soprano Perri Alleyne's pristine vocals grace "Jim's Parents (Abide With Me)" and "Taxi (Ave Maria)," which add just the slightest hint of spirituality and optimism to the proceedings. Unlike the soundtracks for some of Boyle's other films, 28 Days Later has relatively few pop songs on it, but the ones it does have stand out that much more. Grandaddy's "AM180" is a much-needed dose of comic relief, while Boyle's beloved Brian Eno is represented by "An Ending (Ascent)," which may be the most apt use ever of Eno's music in one of Boyle's films. Eno's music is another key influence on Murphy's score, particularly on the luminous "Red Dresses." Unfortunately, Blue States' "Season Song" ends up sounding like an updated, trip-hopped version of Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero" from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and hardly fares better in Rui Da Silva's remix (which is one of the U.S. edition's bonus tracks, along with a slightly more inspired remix of the operatic "Taxi [Ave Maria]"). The U.S. edition also features multimedia content including extra footage, the trailer for the film, and pictures from the set. While this album is unlikely to reach the iconic status that the soundtrack to Trainspotting did, 28 Days Later is a very different soundtrack for a very different movie, and is more than competent in its evocation of the best and worst in humanity.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares