28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later

Film review by: Witney Seibold

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            I guess the shot at the end of “28 Days Later,” featuring zombie folks starving to death, wasn’t enough to guarantee sequel-lessness. Now we are treated to “28 Weeks Later,” featuring a dramatic stretch to bring back the Rage Virus from the first, none of the original cast or creative team, and – true to the spirit of most sequels – a good deal more mayhem.

 

            “28 Weeks Later,” huh? Why wasn’t the first, then, called “4 Weeks Later?” But I digress…

 

            Prologue: A group of uninfected are hiding out in a cottage in the English countryside. A little boy on the run leads the infected to them, and one fella (Robert Carlyle) flees the scene, leaving his wife behind. Fast forward 28 weeks, and
London is now tentatively being repopulated. I guess they didn’t want a big city like that going to waste, so what’s a zombie risk? Said fella is reunited with his children (Mackintosh Muggleton and Imogen Poots, and I swear I didn’t lift those names from a Bertie Wooster story) who were out of the country during all the bedlam.
London is now being overseen by the American military, who have all the guns and tanks they need to wipe out any possible zombies, should they spring up again.

 

            They spring up again.

 

            The rest of the film is a taut, and well-directed chase across
London to bring the two children to safety; the two children who may have the secret to curing the Rage Virus. They are aided by two sympathetic Americans (Jeremy Renner and Rose Byrne).

 

            The film was directed by Spaniard Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (“Intacto”) with able brio, and a brisk, tense pace. Some of the kills are indeed shocking (as oppose to rote splatter thrill that infects many horror films), and things never drag. The slow moments of people wandering around an abandoned
London suburb, or an empty carnival, are atmospheric and creepy. Although many of the action sequences suffer from a hyperkinetic editing that makes the action largely indistinct. But I’ve seen much worse.

 

            And, what with all the guns, poison gas, helicopters, and firebombing, I think maybe possibly the director was trying to make some kind of comment on military occupation. Especially American military occupation. The politics are so obvious, they’re hardly noticeable (if that makes any sense). The zombies are one creature to run from, but the Americans, bent on containing the terroris-, er, virus, at all costs, become the second group of baddies. It’s admirable that directors of zombie flicks try to add social commentary into the films (“Dawn of the Dead” was still best at this), but I was simply relieved that the military, so often treated as the dues-ex-machina-solution-to-all-our-supernatural-problems in zombie and giant-monster genre pix, finally got a different treatment.

             In the end, the film only comes out to be merely above average. The first was a jerky, immediate, and fresh zombie flick. This new one is merely capable, and has nothing new to add. It’s a sequel through-and-through. At least it’s an above-average sequel to a good first movie. That would put it ahead of, say, “Shrek the Third.”

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Published in: on May 24, 2007 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  

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