The Rage Virus, also known as The Infection, is a deadly virus that plays a major role in both the 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film 28 Days Later and its sequel 28 Week Later, and it embodies absolute destruction. It was created in Cambridge university by two doctors, Dr Warren and Dr Clive. The Rage Virus is a fusion of Ebola and the performance enhancer drug which Clive and Warren had created. It also appeared in the graphic novel 28 Days Later: The Aftermath and the 28 Day Later comic book series.
2 scientists at Cambridge University Primate Research Center, named Dr. Warren and Dr. Clive, were attempting to eliminate all homicidal rage from the United Kingdom. Because prior to their experiments, a series of uncontrollable rage-induced rioting had spread all round the nation over the last few weeks. The police had told Dr. Clive it was getting uncontrollable and they asked them to find a cure for domestic rage. Dr. Clive and Dr. Warren were paid by an international board of businessmen named the Financiers to create a drug that would isolate neurochemicals in the brain that cause excess anger and aggression in humans. They developed a drug and got a violent, anger-filled criminal from a police station to serve as a test subject for the inhibitor. When the man was administrated the drug, he was not effected so Warren increased the dosage. This, instead of making the man calmer, made the man crazed with rage. He broke out of the restraints and knocked Warren to the floor. As he was about kill Clive, Warren recovered and bludgeoned the man to death with a fire extinguisher. They later buried the man's body on a hill.
Clive then sneezed at the cemetery, which gave Warren the idea to use a contagion as a delivery system for the drug once they worked on it more. Dr. Warren then decided to take Clive's earlier idea that they should experiment on animals. At first Warren considered using Influenza as the drug's delivery form. But soon changed his mind when he found several genomes inside of the Ebola Virus that would be perfect to mix into the inhibitor. After some more work with the inhibitor, and mixing it with Ebola, Warren and Clive administered their new drug to their chimpanzee test subjects. But, unbeknownst to the scientists, several isolated genomes inside of Ebola reacted violently with the drug, and it had been mutated over the coarse of about two weeks. This mutation of the Ebola Virus reacted to the inhibitor's effects, and reversed them. Now, instead of inhibiting and controlling rage, the inhibitor now instead amplified rage in it's host over a thousand times over. Filling it's host with completely mindless and uncontrollable rage and hatred towards everything around them. Thus, the Rage Virus was born.
The two British scientists were completely unaware of this and injected the drug into some chimpanzees test subjects. The both their shock and horror (and to Warren's anger), the chimpanzees became erratic, rage-filled, and began to bleed from their mouths. Clive then mocked Warren for doing the exact opposite of what he had originally intended to do.
Quoting: "You've created a Rage Virus!"
This drove Warren into a mad fury and he violently assaulted and fought Clive. This finally pushed Clive over the edge and he quits the project. Clive then later informs an Animal Freedom Front about what Warren had done to the chimpanzees and then attempts suicide, but fails.
28 Days Later
The AFF later break into the university to free the infected chimps. A scientist attempted to call security, but was stopped by one of the members. They then asked the scientist to explain himself and the scene around them. He told them repeatedly to not free the animals, as they were "infected". After being questioned about what they were infected with, the man only answered "Rage". The AFF members disregarded his pleads to not let the chimps out (as they were infected with the Rage Virus) and they release one of the chimps. Not knowing of the highly contagious Rage Virus that was in their bodily fluids. The freed chimp then bit open the woman's neck, releasing the Rage Virus into her system. She quickly began to spasm and bleed from her facial orifices. The bitten woman had become the second infected human in the United Kingdom (the first being the hooligan; who was infected with a prototype version of the virus).
The now rabid and infected woman then vomited her infectious blood the faces of three of the other members of the AFF. Who became the third, fourth, and fifth infected humans. Dr. Warren (who was unaware of the Rage Virus' release upon the university) was talking on the phone when he heard continuous and annoying banging on the office door. When Warren went to investigate, he was attacked by the knocker; an infected monkey, who quickly infected Warren. And from there, the Rage Virus began to spread in a massive domino effect all over the United Kingdom.
Four weeks later, a courier named Jim awoke from a truck-induced coma and found that the whole of London was deserted, all its inhabitants having been killed by the Infected hordes - the Rage Virus had prevailed. He survived numerous attacks by the Infected and eventually escaped the country with the help of more survivors. Another month later, The Infected had all died of starvation.
28 Weeks Later
This sequel starts during the original outbreak of the Rage Virus and has several survivors in a cottage, hiding from the Infected. Among them is Donald and Alice Harris, whose kids are in Spain and thus unaffected. A young boy comes rushing in and reveals he has been followed by the Infected, who attack, screaming and biting, and Infect or kill nearly all the survivors. Don tries to escape with Alice but she refuses to leave (wanting to take the boy with her). She finds him hiding and some Infected burst into the room. Alice begs Don to help them but an Infected charges him, causing him to slam the door shut and abandon his wife in doing so. He eventually escapes down river with the help of a man named Jacob (who gets infected and killed by Don). The Infected cannot swim after Jacob's boat and Don escapes.
Some weeks later the Infected are all dead of starvation and NATO begins repopulating Britain.
Andy and Tammy (Don and Alice's children) return from Spain and eventually reunite with their father in the still quarantined Britain. Don takes the kids back to his apartment where he lies about Alice's fate (saying she was killed by the Infected and he could do nothing to save her), which greatly saddens all of them. Andy and Tammy eventually find their old house (where they lived before the outbreak) and eventually find a still alive, but crazed Alice. Flynn and some soldiers then find the kids with their mother (Don having contacted them about his kids leaving the safe zone, which is forbidden) and take her back to base. Alice is later found out to be a carrier of the Rage Virus (meaning she is not rabid but can still infect people) and is quarantined. Don later receives the news about Alice and is horrified, saddened, and relieved (he was still guilty about abandoning her). Don alter breaks into Alice's quarters without proper authorization with his master card. He finds her and apologizes for leaving her to die and the two kiss.
Don was unaware of the Rage Virus in Alice's body and Alice didn't tell Don. He is quickly infected and becomes a very exceptionally smart Infected. Don proceeds to violently murder his wife and escapes the room (in a grisly scene many fans call the Kiss of Death).
Don finds some soldiers and quickly kills them. General Stone and more men find the soldier's corpses and Alice's and realize the virus has broken out again. Stone immediately orders the area go into lockdown and initiates "Code Red". Tammy and Andy are separated in the chaos of cluttering citizens and Andy is locked in a room. The power is then cut and everyone begins to panic. Andy then hears loud banging from a door and Don breaks into the room. Don appears to recognize his son and attacks a man and infects him. The man then begins activating the Rage Virus' domino powers by beginning an outbreak in the room. Andy escapes the room of infection and the new Infected escape the room and out into the streets. Andy also makes it there and Sam escorts him to a safe room where he reunites with Tammy.
Meanwhile the soldiers outside are trying to contain and kill the Infected. The snipers at first cannot get accurate shots (because of the darkness of night and the fact that they can't distinguish who's infected from their positions), thus Stone orders them to shoot indiscriminately.
The Rage Virus has made it's grisly return, and the military has lost control.
Doyle is a soldier and sniper trying to help and he (reluctantly) begins killing innocents as part of Code Red (also killing one of his friends while trying to save him). Doyle abandons his post and meets up with the kids, Scarlet (an officer who befriended them and tried to help them), Sam, and an old couple. They leave the room (as staying would lead to them being killed as part of Code Red's final phase: Extermination). They leave and encounter snipers (who kill the old couple) trying to stop them from escaping. Doyle eventually manages to kill them and the proceed onwards (with Andy catching a glimpse of his infected father). Doyle receives a message from Flynn (his friend and a helicopter pilot) that Stone has just ordered a napalm bomb strike on District 1 (the quarantined area they were in) in an attempt to kill the Infected. The bomb eventually strikes and many Infected are killed but Don takes cover and survives. The group manages to escape and finally leave District 1. They reach Regent's Park (the area Flynn agreed to pick up Doyle but didn't know about the others). When he arrives he refuses to take the others (believing he will be shot out of the sky if he brings anyone else) and eventually leaves when Sam grabs the helicopter's rung.
The Infected that survived the fire bombing and escaped the district arrive and the group starts running. Doyle kills a few Infected and he demands an extraction from Flynn. They eventually escape a poisonous gas fuming of the city and attack choppers (with Doyle sacrificing himself to flamethrowers) and hide in an underground railroad. The car they stole can't fit down there so thy have to walk. The underground is pitch black and Scarlet has to guide the kids with Doyle's night vision rifle scope. Don ambushes her and bludgeons her to death with the butt of the rifle. Andy and Tammy end up splitting and getting lost in the tunnels and Don finds Andy. He them pounces and bits Andy in an attempt to infect him with the Rage Virus and Tammy finds them. Don hesitates for only a moment before running at his daughter in an attempt to kill her. Tammy shoots Don twice and kills before mourning over his and her brother's deaths (believing Andy to be dead). Andy reveals himself to be alive and is now a carrier like his mother. He runs from Tammy and eventually finds the sports stadium where Flynn told Doyle to meet him. They meet Flynn there and he takes them out of England and to Europe.
However, a month later, a third outbreak has occurred, in France. The outbreak was presumably caused by Andy.
28 Months Later
A third installment of the franchise named 28 Months Later is believed to be in production. In which the Rage Virus and The Infected will return.
The Rage Virus has symptoms like rabies and the Ebola Virus from which it originated. The virus can quickly convert it's host into a mindless killing machine in usually half a minute. Although it does appear that some people can draw out the infection time even longer with enough strength. When someone gets infected, they will begin to feel pain. This pain then turns into server agony. And the victim will begin to spasm uncontrollably while beginning to bleed out of their eyes, nostrils, and mouth. The hosts cough up and vomit copious amounts of blood regularly. The Rage Virus, as it's name suggests, causes the hosts to be filled with mindless, animalistic, uncontrollable, all-consuming rage and hatred for the uninfected and everything around them. The rage they feel is so extreme that the Infected can no longer hold emotional connections with uninfected friends or family, now viewing them as enemies. The virus causes the Infected to all have bloodshot, glaring, glowing red irises, and they bleed from their noses and mouth and scalp. The Infected drool blood, presumably because their internal organs have all been destroyed and mashed up by the virus, leaving them a never-ending supply of blood to drool out and Infect others with. Their blood is a weapon because it is Infectious and can Infect anyone it comes in contact with.
The Rage Virus can also give its hosts extra stamina, causing them to run for hours and miles without ever tiring. They will run forever as long as they have an uninfected human in sight and in reach. As soon as their prey reaches an area they know they cannot follow, they will stop running and give up. The Infected also can last for up to three months without food before eventually dying of starvation at the climax. The Rage Virus causes those Infected to twitch almost constantly when they are not running, possibly due to the replication of the virus throughout their system.
The Rage Virus' quite (possibly) deadliest aspect is it's short incubation time of 10-20 seconds; and with that, how rapidly it can spread. The Rage Virus has massive domino powers. Being able to ravage whatever landmass it breaks out on; destroying and stomping out any military or army blockades standing in their way. Also being able to start by only one person getting infected, then that person will spread it to someone else, and in less than an hour, thousands of people will have become infected in one area alone.
There appear to very rare types of Infected that have much higher forms of intelligence than most others. As of now, Donald Harris is currently the only known Infected who possess this certain degree of control over the Rage Virus (although private Mailer could have also had higher intelligence). It's currently unknown what causes this higher intelligence and higher self-awareness in the Infected. Or if there are or will be anymore Infected with this degree of self-control.
Such displays of higher intellect in Don include:
- He escaped Alice's cell with his ID card rather than smash through the door or window.
- He seemed to smile after killing Alice. He also appeared to watch sadistically as the Infection spread in the safety room. Interestingly, the infected chimpanzees from the first film began clapping and cheering after the activists started spreading the Infection. This possibly meaning that the symptoms of the Rage Virus aren't as server in animals than it is in humans. And that the chimps and Don appear to retain some kind of sadistic thought processing.
- He appeared to target military personnel particularly to reduce their numbers and weaken District 1's defenses.
- He also appeared to be focused solely on killing rather than both killing and infecting like other Infected.
- He hid for cover when NATO firebombed District 1 in a failed attempt to stop the Infection.
- He appeared to be actively stalking his children rather than blindly and mindlessly attacking them on sight.
- He ambushed Scarlet and bludgeoned her to death with Doyle's rifle. The other Infected don't use any weapons, just their bare hands. Nor do they bother to try ambushing prey. They just mindlessly attack on sight.
A new method of transference was seen in the sequel 28 Weeks Later due to humans called Carriers, who could transfer the virus with infectious blood but show no signs of psychopathic rage the Infected normally produced. Notable Carriers included Alice Harris and her son Andy. Carriers were a threat to other people, thus the US Army wanted to kill Alice to eliminate the threat of her starting another outbreak; yet Donald visited her against protocol and she unintentionally Infected him. Alice was notable for an Infected as she was not suffering any dementia or rage, yet she did glare at soldiers with hostility, even when they professed a desire to help her and treat her well. It's also interesting to note that Dr. Bellinsworth has implied that there are other Carriers besides Alice and her son. Also since the only known Carriers in the franchise so far have had Heterochromia; it's implied that this is some how linked to a Carrier's resistance towards the Rage Virus. This could also mean that Tammy (Alice's oldest child) is most likely not a Carrier like her mother. Also Alice's eyes did bleed dark red, yet this was the only thing relating her to the other Infected. The idea of human Carriers in any disease is not so far-fetched; most diseases find a way to survive by lying dormant, toying with their human enemies and then strike back when least expected. Often by lying dormant in an uninfected host.
If the Infected have any weakness at all, it's that they are so solely focused on killing people and spreading the Infection that they no longer care about self-preservation, leading to their eventual deaths from starvation. They also no longer care about keeping themselves safe and healthy. They make no effort to avoid any kind of physical danger such as gunshots and fire. Although intelligent Infected are exceptional to this.
- The Virus is called "Rage". "Rage" is also the French name of rabies. Perhaps due to this, the third outbreak was in France.
- The film creation of the Rage Virus and the films they star in have widely changed zombie cinematic for many people. The entirety of the concept of virus-infected humans had never been seen in film, thus the 28 Days Later franchise is considered by many to be a revolutionary film.
- The Krippin Virus (from I am Legend)'s early symptoms are very similar to the Rage Virus. It is also interesting to note that both viruses were genetically engineered from real life contagions (Measles and Ebola) into an experimental drug that was originally designed for a good purpose (KV was meant to cure Cancer while RV was meant to control anger). Both of their effects were reversed by a mutation in the drugs they were born from that resulted in their birth and the outbreaks of both viruses.