There are some movies that I love so much that I watch them over and over again. I’ve been known to put them on as background noise while cleaning or painting. 28 Days Later is one of those movies. Oh, who am I kidding? I would reproduce with this movie if I could. Unfortunately, 28 Days Later currently has a restraining order out against me. I’m only allowed to watch this movie if I’m 25 feet or more from the screen.
What do I love about this movie? I love the slowly building music as Jim (Cillian Murphy) leaves the hospital and realizes that something is very, very wrong. As the sign in the church says:
I love the sound that the rats make when they get a flat tire in the tunnel.
I love the attention to little details, like Jim picking up scattered cash, as if money means anything in the new world. I love that Benneton ads survive the apocalypse.
Another detail that I love is the public spaces plastered with posters of the missing and dead. I live in NJ and I commute between NYC and NJ. It reminds me of the post-9/11 days when very similar posters were all over Newark Penn Station.
I love how badass Selena (Naomi Harris) is. She reminds me of Sarah from Day of the Dead. Except that Selena has the guts to hack up her companion the moment she realizes that he’s infected. I hope that when the inevitable zombie apocalypse comes that my friends have the compassion to lop my head off the moment I’m infected. Although it made me terribly sad that Selena and Hannah remind me why it would suck to be a woman in the apocalypse. It’s like every time society collapses some men think that they get automatic access to your vagina.
I love that the movie is self-aware enough to be clever but not annoying. Like when they decide to use the tunnel to cross the river and Jim says, “You can tell it’s a shit idea because it’s such an obviously shit idea.” Or, the fact that we see so much of Cillian Murphy nude in a genre that’s notorious for having women’s tits fall out. Believe me, I’m not complaining. There is nothing that isn’t good about Cillian Murphy nude.
I love how beautifully composed the movie’s shots are. I paint and draw, and if I ever painted the apocalypse I’d want it to look like this.
This is the movie that I wanted The Stand to be. It has a sense of urgency and terror and mournfulness about society’s undoing. How can a movie from 2002 still feel so relevant?
Ok, it’s not a perfect movie. It dragged for me towards the end, especially after the army men try to execute Jim. That whole segment feels a little Day of the Dead-lite to me. There’s the infected former member of the army group tied up. Check. There’s the army run amok and a group where it’s safer to be outside the fence with the infected than inside the fence with the normals. Check. It’s just on a much smaller scale than Day of the Dead. While 28 Days Later asks the same questions of who are the real monsters, it’s still interesting to watch and I’d definitely choose this movie in a heart-beat over Diary of the Dead.
So, 28 Days Later, please let me be near you again. I swear, that I can change! You make me want to be a better woman.