Film Review: 28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later
28 Weeks Later

When I first saw 28 Days Later� I�ll admit I took a rather unpopular position at the time and� didn�t like it.  At the time seeing the running and sprinting zombies-but-not-zombies taking on England, in many ways to my Romero-purist mind it seemed borderline heretical.  Or maybe it was how people kept saying that they were scarier than the old-fashioned shambling zombies that pissed me off, I dunno.  But I will admit that at the time I didn�t give the film a chance, and time has allowed me to give it another chance and, well, it�s grown on me.  It was innovative, it was original, and its views of the abandoned London were some of the most starkly terrifying imagery in film history.  It was inevitable that a sequel would come out, but the question was, would it be any good? Here, you can get the information about 28 Weeks Later.

In a word, yes.  Given a bigger budget and a near-epic scope, 28 Weeks Later� more than builds upon its predecessor.  In fact, given what it attempts and accomplishes, it may very well be the best zombie film ever made without the name Romero attached to it.

Just as the title suggests, it�s been 28 weeks since the Rage Virus devastated England (though the first movie hinted at the infection crossing other borders, there�s no indication of that here).  All the infected have since died off due to starvation, and a US led NATO force has retaken good sections of London, though much of the land is still a barren wasteland.  However, society is being rebuilt and refugees are slowly being funneled back in.  Local leader Don (Robert Carlyle) is a man with a tragic past, having abandoned his wife Alice (Catherine McCormick) amidst a pack of infected to save his own life.  Their children Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) have been sent over from a refugee camp in Spain, and all seems to be as well as it could be as they attempt to rebuild their lives.

However, wanting some memory of home, Andy and Tammy sneak out to their old house which is still in the quarantined zone.  They pick through the ruins, remembering their past lives, until they see movement.  What at first seems like a dream is soon proven to be reality as their mother proves to still be alive!  The military escorts them back while doctors go over Alice�s miraculous survival considering her time among the infected.  As it turns out though, she herself has been bitten and infected, but due to a genetic trait she remains a carrier instead of becoming symptomatic.  Her blood and saliva is still contagious, but she herself isn�t a violent insane zombie.  A cure is a distinct possibility, and everything seems to be working out for the better when Don sneaks in and moves in for a kiss�

Needless to say, after that things go a bit to hell.

While the first film was a restrained, almost personal affair among a small group of survivors who find the bright and dark sides of human nature, this film�s pace takes a radically different approach, taking full advantage of its apocalyptic horror roots and going balls to the wall action with some of the most over the top set pieces in quite some time.  Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the reins of this film in a similar manner to James Cameron�s taking over of the Alien franchise.  Instead of just doing more of the same, he takes similar themes and ideas and molds them into a much more dynamic, violent, and ultimately satisfying direction.

Also to be commended the most highly is this films stellar cast.  Jeremy Renner takes over the classic all-American hero role rather nicely as the compassionate but still badass hero Sgt. Doyle, believably conveying a crisis of conscience when the higher ups simply choose to exterminate everyone, infected and alive alike.  Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton prove that not all child actors in horror movies need to be irritating and superfluous additions to the story, as they actually do have their fair share of skills and talents to add to the plot.  Veteran character actors Robert Carlyle, Catherine McCormick and Harold Perrineau, though their parts are comparatively small, add a sense of familiarity and seasoned skill to the film.

And, well, since this is a horror film I think it�s more than fair to discuss the gore.  For the first film, it was a rather odd aberration that they featured almost no gore, while this film has gore in spades.  There�s shootings, explosions, limbs being lopped off, heads caved in, and an even gorier dip of the helicopter blades into a crowd of zombies than even Grindhouse could have hoped for.  All in all the gore here is both satisfying and wonderfully red and runny.

In the end, there aren�t enough reasons to recommend 28 Weeks Later�  It�s a worthy entry to a stylish and solid series and a jumping off point for a franchise on its own.  While some might have knocked the happy ending the first seemed to tack on, the apocalyptic ending that this one adds will be more than enough to have you clamoring for more.

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