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The best zombie movie was so hard to make, it wasn’t finished

The director, writer, producer and stars of an independent British horror movie released two decades ago have been reflecting on how hard it was to make.

28 Days Later

Twenty years ago, a low budget British horror movie came along that upended the zombie movie genre. But the making of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later was anything but plain sailing, as the tiny budget of just $8 million made things challenging, to say the least.

Members of the 28 Days Later cast and crew recently spoke to Inverse about making the film which would go on to be considered one of the best horror movies of all time. They explained how the production was always operating on barely enough money to get by. And, by the end, the film didn’t have an ending because there was no money left to film one.

Producer Andrew Macdonald says; “I just had to say one day, ‘We haven’t got any more money,’ and we packed up and left. We didn’t finish the film. It was a very, very difficult shoot by the end. It had started in early-morning glorious sunshine and ended in darkest English countryside in the rain.”

Writer Alex Garland says; “There literally wasn’t an ending. This was after they drive out through the gates. We subsequently shot two endings: one in a hospital and one in another country house, in the Lake District. The hospital ending was the ending I’d written. Jim dies and the two girls set off into the world — who knows what happens to them? It tested really badly. Not just badly but really badly.”

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The best-known version of 28 Days Later ends with the happy ending, but the alternate ending is available on many home release versions – if you want something authentically British and downbeat. The film would go on to make Cillian Murphy a star, and brought him to the attention of one Christopher Nolan. Murphy is leading a Christopher Nolan movie for the first time in Oppenheimer, which will be released in July.

Wanna branch out from zombies? Check out our guide to the best vampire movies and best werewolf movies.