28 Weeks Later (2007)
28 Weeks Later (2007)

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: May 11th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Actors: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Idris Elba, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Emily Beecham

 


 

“28

Weeks Later” boasts a sublimely intense opening sequence – and with it, a promise of a relentlessly paced thriller. And director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, with his sophomore theatrical feature, delivers exactly that. Outdoing the fierceness (and certainly the gore) of its predecessor, this sequel retains many of the jumpy scares and all of the terrifying zombies, but focuses more on action and violence (instead of details on situations and environments, and character development), bringing a slight change in tone and a welcome unpredictability to its frenzied survival story.

Twenty-eight weeks after the initial Rage Virus outbreak, London became occupied by the American military and its heavy quarantine regulations. Those that survived began to rebuild their world in seclusion and, after several months of no sign of the virus and all those originally infected dead to starvation, hopeful tranquility appeared to return. But such serenity was not meant to last. When a father with a dark past is reunited with his children, tragic events unfold, rapidly leading to another outbreak of the Rage. Once again, an epidemic of voracious zombies threatens London, causing those trapped between the ruthless military and their drastic precautions finding little solace amid the carnivorous abominations that roam the streets.

When “28 Days Later” premiered, horror fans the world over praised it for its new breed of zombie, harboring a familiar penchant for human flesh, but also a new, extremely aggressive temperament. Combined with an enhanced agility and speed, Danny Boyle’s unique twist on the undead fiend became far more terrifying than George A. Romero’s original, shuffling design. While the previous picture used the vicious creatures almost as a backdrop for the more diabolical workings of a corrupted military and as commentary on Darwinism and the human condition, “28 Weeks Later” takes full advantage of these cannibalistic crazies to produce some truly shocking horror moments. The opening sequence perfectly outlines just how deadly the infected are as they overwhelm a small group of survivors and dispatch them in a quick and brutal fashion. From there, each encounter becomes even more panic-inducing as Fresnadillo utilizes several ingenious tension-building devices, from the shaky handheld cameras to the foreboding music. One standout sequence finds the protagonists in a pitch-black subway station with the only light source provided by a sniper rifle night-vision scope. In perversely satisfying chaos, all hell breaks loose, with Enrique Chediak’s camerawork and frantic editing making the scenario just that much more gut-wrenching.

With the increased zombie screen time comes a far higher level of blood and death. Throats are torn, eyes are gouged, and heads explode to reveal a sadistic amount of gruesomeness that will have gorehounds cheering and the squeamish fleeing. Partway through the film, a helicopter decapitation reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror” (released right around the same time) can be found, but here it’s no longer an over-the-top splatter of body parts, but an exercise in some truly tense choreography.

Though different in purpose and style from its predecessor, “28 Weeks Later” builds upon the former project’s concepts to create a terrifyingly appropriate follow-up that carries on the tradition of redefining zombies for the modern cinema (in many ways similar to the disparate yet no less masterful changes between “Alien” and “Aliens”). Gone are the shambling, brainless denizens of the night; here, the undead possess an unparalleled speed and ferocity that only the most heavily armed can hope to escape. Arguably superior to the original, “28 Weeks Later” is a triumphant return to a remarkably frightening world, lost to both those in power and those immune to it, where death can arrive in the blink of a bloody eye … but only for the lucky ones.

– Joel Massie

  • 8/10