Hello there fellow human beings: I’m Professor Magic Xylophone, an expert in all things science. If it’s Microbiology, Geology, Botany, Physics, Chemistry, Zoology well… you get the idea, I know it all. I’m going to use my extraordinary brain to stop you being deceived by the devils in Hollywood who use phoney science to fool innocent movie-goers. Let the science begin!
I will begin my new series with the charlatan of 113 minutes that is 28 Days Later, and also to a lesser extent its lame follow-up, 28 Weeks Later.
These two movies revolve around the concept of the accidental release of a highly contagious virus called ‘rage’, which causes all sorts of post-apocalyptic nonsense to occur. The rage virus itself is the most dangerous zombie virus ever depicted, causing the infected to run extremely fast with increased athletic abilities (not so bad), but with the side-effect of being really angry and spitting blood everywhere.
So could this actually happen, or is it just fantasy horror? Let’s take a look.
Point number 1:
In the movie, the rage virus is so fast and potent that a single drop of blood from an infected person can result in near instant zombification (in about 20 seconds)! Could this happen? No! A virus has to invade host cells, use their DNA to replicate thousands of copies of themselves and burst out, infecting new cells, and so on. Bet that took about five seconds to read? Imagine how long it takes to actually do and then have enough viruses to infect the behaviour of a massive animal like a human!
Point number 2:
Could you imagine how much DNA that virus would have to pack to cause such drastic changes in a human’s behaviour and physiology? Probably not, as you are mere mortals, but I can assure you no virus is large enough.
Scrubs really jumped the shark after Season 5
Point number 3:
The infected have increased speed, stamina and athletic abilities, they can run without getting tired forever. Hmmm… even if the adrenal glands were pumping overtime, there’s only so much human muscles can do and these infected carriers seem to have lost all interest in feeding. Also, they don’t seem to sleep and are spewing out litres of blood which won’t help their superhuman stamina. Humans, even ones infected with rage, are still only humans!
Point number 4:
The infected experience true rage, all they want to do is go around killing people, but for some miraculous reason they don’t attack each other! Now I understand that the infected must smell pretty funky - they certainly don’t look too hygienic - but the uninfected survivors in the movie look just as unappealing! I don’t think a sweaty Brendan Gleeson who hasn’t washed in 28 days would be too tasty! How can the infected sense each other and not attack - they only have a basic intelligence and seem to have no capacity for reasoning at all. There is just no way this can be scientifically possible.
Point number 5:
If you are ever stuck in post-apocalyptic Britain and you’re looking to find your way to a safe haven, don’t follow the directions laid out in this movie. As we see Manchester burning, the road signs are for the A421 and the A507, which is on the M1 near Milton Keynes - not even close to Manchester. While at the blockade, the sign on the road says the M55 junction for Blackpool is in a third of a mile. Shame on you, Danny Boyle!
There are a number of websites and forums that will tell you it’s possible, but these are run by people as braindead as the traditional ‘undead’ zombies. At least the undead ones can explain not attacking each other with some extra sensory perception or other supernatural mumbo jumbo. Don’t be fooled, we’re all safe from rage viruses or any other apocalyptic scenario. We’ll just have to be content with our humble swine flu for now.
And so the cosmic ballet… goes on!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?