And the Hulie goes to....
28 Days Later!
Seems the fans and panelists were on the same wavelength here, as both chose this seminal work as the Best Horror Film on Hulu, over such worthies as John Carpenter's The Thing.
And it is a seminal work; what Romero and Russo did in inventing the modern zombie picture in the original Night of the Living Dead (see Best Classic Movie) writer Alex Garland and Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle did with this film, which reinvented that sub-genre for the postmodern era. Gone were the slow-moving reanimated dead whose sole purpose was to feed on the living, replaced by relentless sprinters with a biological imperative to do nothing more than spread the disease which made them the blood-thirsty automatons they've become.
The story is simple: Animal rights activists in England break into a laboratory and free a monkey infected with a new disease called Rage, which sweeps the nation and wipes out virtually the entire population in weeks. Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a bicycle accident after 28 days to find a nearly empty London. He then hooks up with other survivors Selena, Frank and Hannah (Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and Megan Burns, respectively). They then end up in a military facility run by Major West (Christopher Eccleston), where Jim makes a wonderful, and somewhat devastating discovery.
The isolation-- the desolation-- that Jim must feel upon waking to find that everything he's ever known is gone is captured very well by this film. We as an audience are drawn into his personal hell as every step, every corner he turns leads him further into this Twilight Zone-esque scenario. We feel his fear as he wonders, "Where is everyone?" And then we feel his abject horror as he wonders, "Where are my parents?", especially as more and more of the reality of the situation is revealed. Then, whereas Jim is our Everyman, we are given a tour of how others would deal with this situation: Selena is the survivor who will do anything to protect herself, Frank and Hannah are the people who hide away hoping the situation will work itself out, and Major West is the military man who holds his team of young men together by any means necessary. While none of these people are completely us, we see pieces of ourselves in each of them.
This is a marvelous film that, in the tradition of the best in sf (speculative fiction), uses an extreme situation to tell us something about ourselves and about the world around us.
After 20,000 audience votes, the Audience Choice was also "28 Days Later," with a hefty 51% of the vote.
The other nominees were "John Carpenter's The Thing," "Naked Lunch," "When a Stranger Calls," and "Christine."