Probably one of the most unexpected sequels this year, 28 Weeks Later returns us to familiar territory, but with a whole new cast and crew this time. Dealing with new victims of the rage virus, 28 Weeks Later brings back the slick, grainy style made popular in its predecessor, 28 Days Later, and brings it into new territory. But can a sequel with an entirely new cast and creative team successfully pull off a sequel to a movie that . . . really didn’t need one?
Quarantine. Eradication. Sterilization. Repopulation. The terror and devastation unleashed in the groundbreaking horror masterpiece 28 Days Later picks up six months after the Rage virus has decimated London in 28 Weeks Later, the heart-stopping zombie horror sequel that “surpasses the original” (Dallas Morning News). Months after the deadly outbreak annihilated the British Isles leaving only a handful of survivors, the army declares the war against the infection has been won and the reconstruction of the country slowly begins; but as the first wave of refugees returns, the deadly infection resurfaces without warning, and this time – it is more dangerous than ever!
One of the best reviewed horror films of the year, 28 Weeks Later drops us in familiar territory, as the movie opens with a revisiting of the outbreak from the original picture. From there, things zip to present day, as London is, once again, open for business. As with any movie, things don’t go exactly as planned. Starring Robert Carlyle, the movie follows the predictable path of the quiet before the storm. Everything seems to be going well until a survivor is found, one immune to the infection. Of course, this survivor also has a connection to Carlyle (which I won’t spoil), which spins the movie into it’s third act.
Now, there are things I liked and disliked about this movie. The opening sequence, set at an isolated farmhouse, was well-executed all around. Plus, as the zombies swarm it, damn intense and quite unbelievable. From there, we zip forward and we’re introduced to the present day as the movie focuses mainly on two survivors, two kids, who are coming home to live with their Dad. Twists and turns are taken and, inevitably, the kids are on the run as they rush to survive the newest infection outbreak.
Now, overall, the movie’s well done, even if it, at times, does a poor job at imitating the shaky-cam/home recording style of the original. Some scenes are nearly impossible to make out, and there are style choices made that, while it likely sounded good on paper, doesn’t really work. One such a scene, which we follow characters through a night vision lense a on a rifle, doesn’t really work. It’s nearly impossible to make anything out and ends up taking away from the movie instead of putting us directly in the conflict. Thankfully, sound effects and dialogue do help us piece the scene together, but it’s muddled and not as clear cut as it should be.
Secondly, and I’ll be vague to avoid spoilers, there’s a zombie that pops up over and over in the movie. I understand a couple times, it’s merely a hallucination, but, still. The creature pops up so many times it comes across as ridiculous toward the end. And, speaking of the ending, you’ll either love it or loathe it. It’s an indirect set-up for a sequel and, well, won’t be what fans from 28 Days Later will expect.
The DVD, however, will be along the lines of expectation. The DVD release for 28 Weeks Later features roughly 13 minutes of deleted scenes, three behind-the-scenes featurettes focusing on assorted aspects of the movie, director commentary, and an exclusive 28 Days Later: The Aftermath flash-animated segments. These segments are based on the Fox Atomic Comics 28 Days Later: The Aftermath graphic novel which bridges the gap between the two films. Rounding out the disc is the movie’s excellent theatrical trailer and a host of previews for other horror-themed Fox titles.
Still, all problems aside, it’s still worth checking out and does have some genuine scares. 28 Weeks Laters comes Recommended, at least for a rental. Fox has put together a nice DVD package that rounds out the film quite well, even shedding light on some of the more vague moments in the film. Plus, unlike most recent horror films, it should keep you firmly glued to the seat. A few moments may seem nearly impossible to figure out but those pass quickly, and you’re thrown right back into the mix. It’s a good, not great, follow-up to 28 Days Later, and is worth a spin.
28 Weeks Later is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray.