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28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later

In Theatres: 
May 11, 2007
Running Time: 
99 Minutes

So you don’t go into this movie confused on the title like I did, let me run down the synopsis really quick.  Even after seeing the movie, I am still not fully sure of the time-frame in relation to the first movie.  It starts off in the middle of a storyline involving what appears to be a man, his wife, a possible pregnant sibling and their elderly parents.  They take in a child (really, for no reason as it has no point for the rest of the movie).  Very quickly after taking in this child, they are violently attacked by what are now very powerful zombies.  One or two, or all (I don’t want to spoil anything) escape and then the recap comes up letting the audience in on what happens in certain increments after the “escape.”  First, a few days later and then what happened “28 Days Later” which leads me to believe that what was just viewed was happening simultaneously with the events of the first movie.

Anyway, I will get my complaints out of the way first because there are really only 2 of them:

1.  Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (reportedly hand-picked by original director, and now producer, Danny Boyle who was too busy on the set of his upcoming movie Sunshine to direct again) took the “shaky” camera bit that Boyle used in Days a bit too far.  Although Fresnadillo is not shy on the gore (I will touch on that later), a good portion of it is so shaky and disorienting that it is nauseating for the wrong reasons and proves more irritating than frightening.

2. The movie, which clocks in at a brisk 99 minutes and 27 seconds, seems much longer.  I don’t know what causes this as the film really didn’t seem to drag much in any part but I walked out of the movie feeling like it was 30 minutes longer than it actually was.

Although I don’t believe that zombie movies are horror movies, others may argue that sentiment.  Fresnadillo takes the horror recipe to this sequel by stepping up the body count and adding more gore and blood, but I am still reluctant to call it a horror movie as there is more than just your average slasher going on.  This is human survival and heroism (or lack thereof in Carlyle’s character) to its very core.  Our hero-to-be Robert Carlyle (of Boyle’s Trainspotting fame) is not quite the main character you would normally like to root for (as in Cillian Murphy’s character in Days).  He is more worried about saving himself rather than his wife, a child and the others barricaded in his cottage.  But, through facial expressions and anguished torment, Carlyle is able to show that his selfishness is more human-based than animal.  He is scared and is lost on what to do in a harrowing situation.

Carlyle is not the standout actor in this movie, that award goes to the older-than-she-looks Imogen Poots, playing Carlyle’s daughter Tammy who is the real hero of this movie.  Playing a teenager, Poots pulls off the role with such authenticity and maturity, that you forget that you are watching an actress.  Poots just may be the next Keira Knightley, which is ironic because she got her big break playing a young Natalie Portman in V For Vendetta and Knightley caught a big break playing Portman’s “look-alike” in Star Wars.

As for characters, the standout is one that most audiences would normally overlook; the location.  London is the setting, as it was for the first film, and, somehow without an overly CG look, they managed to make it look so desolate and real that it is a post-apocalypticophile’s wet dream.

28 Weeks Later is a triumph in terror, survival and human emotion.  As for entertainment in the non-traditional aspect, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Peter Oberth
Review by Peter Oberth
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