28 Days Later may go down as one of the scariest films in history. Just thinking about it should upset you. I mean, it’s zombies, but they’re fast. Speed was like the one thing we non-zombies had on them, and this movie takes that sense of safety and throws it to a pack of manic, sprinting murderous beast-people.
But what you might not know about this film, besides everything because you were covering your eyes the whole time, is it has several endings. Only two were actually shot, and while there’s very little room for any ending to be considered “happy” in this film’s world, there was one ending the audience actually considered “not happy.”
In the ending you’ve probably seen, which was included in the wide release, Jim is shot in the chest but is whisked to an abandoned hospital by his companions Selena and Hannah. There, Selena performs surgery on him, because she’s a pharmacist, you see, and apparently in the UK all pharmacists are also trained combat surgeons. Anyway, she saves his life and they all go hang out in a cottage somewhere until the whole thing blows over.
Audiences liked this ending, probably because the rest of the movie is a blood-filled panic-fest that can fuel a month’s worth of stress dreams. So they were desperate for a resolution to cling to while they laid awake that night staring at the ceiling wondering if they even knew where to *get* a machete for when the zombies come.
In the alternate ending, Jim dies at the hospital because guess what? It’s not actually that easy to do surgery. If it were, everyone would do it all the time, and they’d be saving themselves and their insurance companies a lot of money while they’re at it. But instead, we pay professionals who’ve trained for literally years to do it because surgery is hard, especially for an untrained person in an abandoned hospital.
But after Jim dies, Selena looks at Hannah and says what is basically her mantra: “We move.” They then gather up their guns and leave the hospital in their literal ballgowns, ready to take on the post-apocalyptic hell that awaits with both style and mostly-dead-inside grace.
Audiences found this sad, maybe because the hero dies. But also because they assumed these women were heading off to their deaths. Because the moral of this story is: audiences in 2001 didn’t think two women were capable of surviving a zombie apocalypse without Cillian Murphy there to help them.
Luckily, this wildly #feminist ending survives on YouTube, where women everywhere can watch it and get inspired. Did you have a bad day at work? Did you get ghosted? Did you just watch the dude you like bleed out on an operating table at an abandoned hospital during the end of the world? Well, buck up and grab your gun, because “we move!”