28 WEEKS LATER
****1/2 (out of 5)
May 11, 2007
Robert Carlyle as DON
Rose Byrne as SCARLET
Jeremy Renner as DOYLE
Imogen Poots as TAMMY
Mackintosh Muggleton as ANDY
Catherine McCormack as ALICE
Harold Perrineau as FLYNN
Studio: Fox Atomic
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
While I’ve been a horror movie fan for most of my life, I was never a big fan of zombie films. The original “Night of the Living Dead” was good, but its sequels and subsequent rip-offs didn’t do much for the genre. While the idea of the dead coming back to life makes my skin crawl, I just have grown tired of the stumbling zombies in cinema.
All of that changed in 2003 when I saw Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later.” This film redefined zombie movies with one simple change: they moved fast, and they were relentless.
From this point on, zombie movies have evolved. There have been intelligent spoofs like “Shaun of the Dead,” and there have been other movies that use the walking dead that are light on their feet, like the “Dawn of the Dead” remake. Even today, more is being done with zombies, most notably film festival favorite “Fido” which takes the story beyond the zombie apocalypse.
I have read that Danny Boyle said “28 Days Later” was not a zombie film, and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who directed its sequel “28 Weeks Later” concurs. They are correct in the technical sense, but the elements that make zombie films work are integral to these films.
When I heard about the sequel “28 Weeks Later,” I was both excited and nervous. I was excited because I loved the first film, but I was nervous because I was well familiar with the Hollywood track record for sequels. However, when I finally saw the film, I thought it was probably one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen.
Fresnadillo actually continues the story from the first film rather than just remake the movie. He offers new things to contemplate, and he gives us a vision of the future that sent a chill up my spine.
“28 Weeks Later” takes place six months after the first film. The infected have all died of starvation, and the American military is brought to England to help with the clean-up effort. Once part of London is declared secure and safe, the government starts to bring families back into the country.
Don (Robert Carlyle), a man who narrowly escaped a rage attack weeks before, is put in charge of security. His two children come home to be with him and grieve the loss of their mother, who Don left for dead in the attack. When the children sneak out of the quarantine zone and go to their home, they find their mother still alive.
The military takes charge of the mother, who is infected with the rage virus, but doesn’t show any symptoms. However, she is a carrier. It’s no surprise when the infection spreads, and London becomes a landscape of death again.
If you thought that “28 Days Later” was grim, wait until you see “28 Weeks Later.” Juan Carlos Fresnadillo manages to construct one of the most grisly and spine-chilling vision of the apocalypse. While its predecessor showed signs of hope, it’s nothing but darkness for this film.
And that’s where the movie succeeds. Some of the film is uncomfortable to watch, and there are a few wrinkles in the plot that allow the rage to spread and get the ball rolling. But all of this works in the context of the movie. I liked the movie once I saw it. Upon reflection, I loved the movie. It’s quite easily one of the scariest films of the year.