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May 2007


By Wilson Morales


Distributor: Fox Atomic
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Screenwriters: Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, and Jesus Olmo
Cinematographer: Enrique Chediak
Composer: John Murphy
Cast: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Catherine McCormack, Jeremy Renner, Harrold Perrineau, Idris Elba, Mackintosh Muggleton, and Imogen Poots


The thing about watching sequels that gets you interested in the first place is that either the film has a continuing story from the first film that’s plausible or you’re happy to see the same faces interact with each other again. When the latter doesn’t happen, then usually those films are either horror films such as the many Jasons and Freddy Krugers, where only the killer returns and there are new victims around. In “28 Weeks Later”, what you get are new victims, and a new story that with its flaws and all, still has enough entertainment and frights to shake you afterwards and have the franchise continued.

Continuing the story from “28 Days Later”, hence the title, the film focuses on a single family where initially Don (Carlyle) and Alice (McCormack) have been hiding in the house with some others folks until compassion amongst one of them leads to the infected infiltrating their compound and Don has to make a decision that affects his life forever. At this time, their kids Tammy (Poots) and Andy (Muggleton) were tucked away somewhere in Spain and away from the madness. Now, “28 Weeks Later” when England had been cleared of the outbreak and the military has taken over the country with certain areas re-opened for the public, Don, who made it out alive, waits for his kids to board off the train. When he explains that Alice was killed by the infected, both of the kids are upset that not only will they not return to their home but Andy doesn’t believe he will remember what his mom’s face looks like. Sneaking off from dad and the military road blocks, the kids head back home to gather some belongings when low and behold, hiding in the attic is their mum, alive after all this time. Guess dad has some explaining to do.

When the military, led by General Stone (Elba) seizes them and discovers that Alice shows no signs of looking zombie-like but is still infected with the disease, the lead medic (Rose) believes that she carries some sort of special blood that needs to be evaluated, much to the chagrin of Stone. When Don, shocked that his story to the kids has fallen flat, visits Alice, and before you know it, a new outbreak has begun, with the medic, a sharpshooter (Renner) and his helicopter pilot friend (Perrineau) trying to save the kids while escaping the claws of the infected and Stone’s edit of “Code Red”, which is the termination of all existence in the area.

While there is a certain degree of shocks, and suspense, “28 Weeks Later” doesn’t come close to its original. For one, much of what happens in the film is predictable. While the first film had characters that were different from one another such as Noami Harris, Cillian Murphy, and Brendan Gleason, and Christopher Eccleston, this film focuses on a single unit where it’s a matter of which one of them will make it out of alive. Also, there are several holes in the story that makes it no different from the horror films we have seen lately which takes the fun out of it. Still, the production design looks amazing and the work of cinematographer Enrique Chediak with the hand held lends a chill to the film. London looks as empty and cold as it did with the first film. While the kids are the focal point here, it’s Renner’s character that steals the film. It’s him that we care about. His actions, and emotional response to the situation is what engages the audience. The darkness shown in the subway station is when we get the real stuff, the intensity of the film. Elba’s Stone is wasted and too one-note, and Carlyle adds nothing to the mix. While “28 Weeks Later” is sure to keep fans entertained, some will yearn for more gore, more emotion and more intense.