Arthur Slugworth’s review published on Letterboxd:
Originally logged in my phone's notepad as "28 Door Fabber" due to my Chardonnay-intoxicated state, 28 Days Later remains a favorite comfort movie for yours truly.
Initially beloved as a fast/angry zombie flick that thrilled me considerably in theaters, Danny Boyle's offbeat approach to undead Olympic sprinters has made substantial gains in the larger smooth brain stock market that occupies the peak of my spinal column.
Gods gift to the emerald isle, my man crush, Cillian Murphy, begins the film with his groggy return to reality after a traffic injury, only to find the world turned upside down by the "Rage" virus. Wordless desperation, and disbelief drives the Gaelic, stone faced wonder into a group of survivors that expectedly provide hope, and complications in the larger chess game of survival.
Boyle's auteur flair pushes the boundaries of the overpopulated genre of undead moaning; as the tension increases with the rush of zombie hordes, Boyle changes from a careful, static camera to a lower-fidelity handicam that shakes and wobbles with each uneasy step and desperate sprint of our survivors. As The Walking Dead would later utilize, the true drama of the film contrasts these thrills, as the limited resources are stretched thin between survivor groups vying for control amidst the apocalypse.
In addition to cinematic flair, Alex Garland's screenplay is likewise mindful to subtle aspects of the human condition, woven throughout the film as urgent themes. The Rage virus, showcasing the violent, animalistic potential of humanity, is sharply contrasted with the cooperation, love and support amongst Cillian's crew. As his group of survivors crosses paths with a military base, we see the final conflict of social contract civilization vs might-makes-right Hobbesian power structures.
As Cillian tragically dips into his Rage-potential to secure the survival of his group, we watch the final catharsis: Selena (played by the equally beautiful Naomie Harris) mistakenly fears his infection, as his Final-Guy virginal porcelain complexion is comprehensively dappled with the genre-approved crimson hues. She is then thankful to learn that his excursion into animalistic violence is a temporary one, and releases the scene's tension with good old fashioned big- screen smooch (lol).
The final shot of the film playfully twists counterclockwise the gotcha moment we all expect; as the survivors lay out an expected huge HELP sewn together with cloth for a plane flying overhead...we see instead a large HELLO (longingly yelled by Murphy at the start of the film...ahhh bookends). The human salutation twists the expectated gasp for survival...a testament to the film's purpose in challenging its genre ancestry by repurposing its clichés.
Boyle proves his versatility with 28 Door Fabber...even in my drunken stupor I found its raging brilliance delightfully human. 👹😇
(Also...what a hauntingly beautiful score!! 🎼🎵🎵🎶)