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28 Weeks Later

United Kingdom 2007
Directed by
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
91 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
3 stars

28 Weeks Later

Synopsis: It is 28 weeks after the events of 28 Days Later. The rage virus has been contained. The infected have all died of starvation. The plague of insane furious psychos is over. Now the US army has moved in and is supervising the repatriation of survivors and the reconstruction of Great Britain. At least until a carrier of the virus spreads the infection and the chaos begins anew.

28 Days Later, directed by Danny Boyle in 2002 was a breath of fresh air in the horror landscape. Like all really good horror, it was as much a social commentary and character study as it was a thrill ride. The strains of Nietzschean Existentialism / Social Darwinism that ran through it were fascinating, and the final setp-iece in an old manor was a masterpiece of tension, horror and violence. So it’s no surprise that one of the most effective parts of that sequence, the music, returns here. Actually, it returns repeatedly. It’s welcome, because it’s a great musical cue that drives and builds. And given this is just an elaborate chase film, it’s appropriate. It’s also the best thing about this film, which isn’t bad, just not particularly engaging.

It’s pointless to talk about the characters in this film. They’re just there to give you a bodycount. While the original film gave you people to empathize with and invested them with both charisma and life, this film gives you nothing. The characters exist to get the macguffin from A to B, then die, passing it on to the next character who takes you from B to C. It’s pretty poor. And the frustrating thing is that it teases you with the possibility of something greater. Robert Carlyle’s Don is brilliantly set up for a great dramatic arc. He ran from the infected and left his wife to die. He lies to his children about her death when they’re re-united. Then it turns out she’s alive and he’s caught out. Great moment, great possibilities. But then it turns out she’s got a natural immunity to the infection and she’s a carrier. One innocent reconciliation kiss later and all dramatic possibilities in the characters are gone as infection takes hold of Don, and then London once again. It’s clever, in a watching-a-car-crash-in-slow-motion kind of way. It is a horrible moment, so desperately sad, but then nothing else comes afterwards to match it. That story ends, since Don is effectively dead now. Everything that follows is bog-standard horror-action plotting. And I stopped caring.

There are some exceptional moments of gore, the best of which is a helicopter pilot using his rotor to carve through a horde of the infected. Blood and bits fly everywhere and it’s thoroughly enjoyable in a silly way (though given the virus is spread by the blood, I’d have though you’d want to be careful splashing it all around like that.). The firebombing of London is also pretty spectacular. It’s a solid effort, some good gore and a few decent frights, but I didn’t really care what happened next. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo gave us the excellent and intriguing Intacto (2001), so maybe I just expected more. 28 Weeks Later is a fun film with some nice ideas and some great moments, but it’s far more conventional and not nearly as good as its predecessor.




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