''28 Days Later'' is not a sequel to Sandra Bullock's 2000 comedy-drama. It has nothing to do with drug and alcohol abuse, meeting cute, or the ''wackiness'' of treatment centers. Rather, the latest from the director of ''Trainspotting'' concerns such cheery topics as deadly viruses, military men gone amok, the blood-drunk walking dead, and the end of civilization as we know it. ''Fox [Searchlight] said, 'Hey, do you want to change the title because people might think it's a sequel?''' Danny Boyle says, laughing. ''But it was too late. We'd love Sandra Bullock to come to some sort of premiere, though. We don't mind the confusing publicity at all.''
They may not need it. The movie -- which finds London emptied of all but rotting corpses after animal activists accidentally unleash a deadly virus called Rage -- is timely to a fault. Of course, lest the SARS-phobic be put off, it should be made clear that ''28 Days Later'' is more postapocalyptic zombie flick than topical docudrama.
''The source material was George Romero films like 'Dawn of the Dead' and 'Day of the Dead,' which are quite explicitly referenced in the film, but hopefully in a loving way. Or just a stealing way,'' says scribe Alex Garland, who also wrote ''The Beach,'' which Boyle brought to the screen with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. '''Day of the Triffids' and 'On the Beach' are also in there. But look, viruses scare people. I know viruses scare me.''