It started off as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different, because it was happening in small villages, market towns... and then it wasn't on TV anymore. It was on the street outside. It was coming through your windows. It was a virus, an infection. You didn't need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood, or something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities, it was already too late. The infection was everywhere. The army blockades were overrun, and that's when the exodus started. The day before the TV and radio stopped broadcasting, there were reports of infection in Paris and New York. You didn't hear anything more after that.
So lesson one- you never go anywhere alone, unless you've got no choice. And lesson two- you only travel during daylight, unless you've got no choice.
I remember my dad had all this cash. He thought maybe we could buy our way onto a plane, even though cash was completely useless. Ten thousand other people had the same idea. The crowd was surging. I lost my grip on my sister's hand. I remember the ground felt very soft, and I saw I was standing on people. People who had fallen. Like a carpet. There were infected in the crowd- it spread fast. You couldn't get away, you could only climb, climb over more people. So I did that. So I climbed, I climbed on top of more people. I got up on top of this kiosk. Looking down you couldn't tell which faces were infected and which weren't. Then I saw my dad. Not my mom or my sister. My dad. I saw his face... Selena's right. You should be grateful.
I'm Major Henry West. Welcome. [Pauses] Well, we've got beds with clean sheets, and a boiler that produces hot water. So you can all have a shower. [To Jim] You look like you need one.
[Showing Jim around the fortified mansion] Flat terrain all around the house. Floodlights, which we've rigged up to a generator. High perimeter wall, which helps, and we've been lacing the ground with trip wires and land mines. You wouldn't want to mow the lawn, but if they get in, we hear them. Secondary to protection, our real job is to rebuild. Start again.
[A researcher tries to dissuade animal-rights activists from releasing his chimpanzees.]
Researcher: The chimps have been infected. They're highly contagious. They've been given an inhibitor...
Activist: Infected with what?
Researcher: In order to cure, you must first understand...
Activist: Infected with WHAT?
Jim: What about the government? What are they doing?
Selena: There is no government.
Jim: Of course there's a government! There's always a government! They're in a... a bunker, or a plane!
Mark: No. There's no government. No army. No police. No TV, no radio, no electricity. You're the first uninfected person we've seen in six days.
Jim: What about your family?
Mark: They're dead. So is Selena's.
Selena: And yours will be dead too.
[Shortly after Selena has killed the newly infected Mark.]
Jim: How did you know? I mean, how did you know he was infected?
Selena: The blood.
Jim: Yeah... but there was blood everywhere. It was on me, it was on you —
Selena: Look, I didn't know he was infected, okay? He knew. I could see it in his face. Look, if someone gets infected you've got between ten and twenty seconds to kill them. It might be your brother or your sister or your oldest friend. It makes no difference. And just so you know where you stand — if it happens to you, I'll do it in a heartbeat... He was full of plans, Mark. Do you have plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world, or just fall in love and fuck? Plans are pointless. Staying alive's as good as it gets.
Jim: Do you know what I was thinking?
Selena: You were thinking that you'll never hear another piece of original music, ever again. You'll never read a book that hasn't already been written or see a film that hasn't already been shot.
Jim: Um, that's what you were thinking.
Selena: No. I was thinking I was wrong.
Jim: About what?
Selena: All the death, all the shit, it doesn't really matter to Frank and Hannah, because... well, she's got a dad and he's got his daughter. So I was wrong when I said staying alive is as good as it gets.
Jim: See, that's what I was thinking.
Selena: Was it?
Jim: Mm-hmm. You stole my thought.
Selena: [she kisses him on the cheek] Sorry.
Jim: It's okay. You keep it.
Major West: So you heard our broadcast.
Jim: Yeah, we did.
Major West: We must be a disappointment. You were hoping for a full brigade- an army base with helicopters and a field hospital.
Jim: We were just hoping for...
Major West: 'The answer to infection'.
Major West: Well, as I said before, it's here. Though it may not be quite what you imagined.
[Major West takes Jim to an enclosed yard in the mansion while showing him around]
Major West: And lastly, meet Mailer. [Mailer charges out at them but is held back by a chain; Major West casually introduces them to each other.] Mailer, Jim. Jim, Mailer. Got infected two days ago. Mitchell managed to knock him out cold, and we got a chain around his neck.
Jim: You're keeping him alive?
Major West: The idea was to learn more about infection. Have him teach me.
Jim: And... has he? [Mailer completely ignores several open but untouched cans of food left out for him]
Major West: In a way. [he kneels near Mailer, inducing a fit of groaning and thrashing] He's telling me he'll never bake bread, plant crops, raise livestock. He's telling me he's futureless. And eventually, he'll tell me how long the infected take to starve to death.
Private Bedford: What a fuckin' disappointment. When I saw those eggs, I thought it was Christmas.
Private Bell: We'll have eggs again, soon as everything's back to normal.
Corporal Mitchell: Aw, you muppet. I mean, look at him, oy? He's still waiting for Mark's and Spencer's to reopen! Listen, mate, you don't know nothing-
Sergeant Farrell: Well, I think Bell's got a point. When you look at the whole life of the planet, we- you know, man- has only been around for a few blinks of an eye. So if the infection wipes us all out- that is a return to normality. [Pauses] That what you meant, Bell?
Private Bell: Uh, yeah- yeah. [Laughter breaks out among the men]
Major West: [To Jim, Selena, and Hannah] Have you met our new age sergeant? Our spiritual guru? Tell me, Farrell, why exactly did you join the Army in the first place? [Farrell, aware he is being mocked, scowls and says nothing.] This is what I've seen in the four weeks since infection: people killing people. Which is much what I saw in the four weeks before infection, and the four weeks before that, and before that, as far back as I care to remember- people killing people. Which, to my mind, puts us in a state of normality right now.
Selena: Hannah, you're not eating.
Hannah: I don't want to eat.
Major West: You must eat, Hannah.
Hannah: I don't want to eat. I want to bury my dad. He's one of the people you're talking about. [There is a long pause, and Major West reluctantly nods in acknowledgement. Suddenly, the room shakes as a landmine explodes on the lawn.]
Sergeant Farrell: STAND TO! STAND TO!
Major West: Who have you killed?
'Major West: Since it began, who have you killed? You wouldn't be alive right now if you hadn't killed somebody.
Jim: I killed... I killed a boy.
Major West: A child?
Major West: But you had to kill him. Otherwise he'd have killed you.
Major West: I promised them women.
Major West: Eight days ago, I found Jones with his gun in his mouth. He said he was going to kill himself because there was no future. What could I say to him? We fight off the infected or we wait until they starve to death... and then what? What do nine men do except wait to die themselves? I moved us from the blockade, and I set the radio broadcasting, and I promised them women. Because women mean a future.
Yes. It's this idea of a psychological virus. Like road rage, that moment when the red mist descends, if you magnify that a thousand times and experience it to the exclusion of everything else, imagine what that kind of power would be like. That was our monster. If you really think about that, it's very, very scary indeed.
We cast athletes as the monsters, because they're incredibly powerful and you can sense that power in them. We also used manifestations of Ebola: the vomiting and blood pouring from orifices; and the rictus look of fear at the hydrophobia stage of rabies. Hopefully all of that makes it a very scary film.
One of the problems with filming in Britain is that there's this slightly depressing air of familiarity and scale, but we wanted to make it something mythic and give it a mythical size. We didn't have enough money to pay for carnage on a city-wide scale, but the idea of an emptied London gave us the iconic image we needed.