Zombie movies always left me perplexed. In a case of a zombie apocalypse, I am absolutely certain that I would not want to run from zombies, the infected, or any other version of the undead for the rest of my life. It seems excessively exhausting, anxiety inducing and, quite frankly, pointless. I say this because as we saw in 28 Days Later, a variety of circumstances leave people to resort to the “every man for himself mentality” and act out in ways that would be completely unacceptable otherwise. People are always forced to leave their family and friends behind often murdering them to save themselves from whatever impending doom the movie introduces, just as Selena killed Mark. I would never want to live in a world where I would potentially be forced to kill my loved ones if they were infected, because then all I would see in myself is a lonely, nomadic, and animalistic murderer. I feel as though zombie movies really do just draw on our natural, biological motivations that we must survive, bringing out the worst in the characters and letting us watch other people revert to our grotesque and savage instincts.
The scene where Jim attacks the soldier provides a perfect example of acting totally out of character and clearly allows me to question why anyone would keep moving forward when put in this situation. During this specific scene and the scenes proceeding it, the low lighting, malicious nondiegetic soundtrack and diegetic sound of the lightening from the storm, grunts from fighting and footsteps running all contribute to the apprehension and unease within me as the viewer. I never know what will jump out next, who is around each corner and most importantly, it becomes more difficult to differentiate between a human and one of the infected, connecting back and confirming my idea that I would never want to spend the rest of my life running and scared. I could barely handle sitting through the nervousness that the movie invoked in me during these scenes, nonetheless actually live in it.
Jim mutilating the soldier also puts thoughts in my mind of exactly his motivations were. He could have easily fought him without shoving his fingers through his eyes, but he was brutal and relentless. This links back with the idea that we regress to our vicious, biological instincts and tend to act like animals with no remorse. In my opinion, animals don’t necessarily realize or think about the fact that they are inflicting pain or harm on another being, they are just trying to feed or defend themselves. So, if we see ourselves as comparable to animals in apocalyptic situations, I feel as though viewers can justify Jim’s actions because they were simply derived from the dire need to protect himself and continue to survive.
My question to everyone, though, would be would you keep running? Why? Wouldn’t you feel lonely, sad or guilty for acting certain ways in order to survive?