28 Weeks Later review by The Grim Ringler

28 Weeks Later

Of all the ideas that seemed ripe for rotting on the vine, the notion of a sequel to the highly original and scary 28 Days Later has to be high on the list. There was something extraordinarily satisfying about the first 28 that left you feeling as if youd seen all you had to. The story was told. Naturally, after the film did well and created a buzz, there was talk of a sequel. Wonderful. What a great idea take an idea thats run its course and mine it until the original isnt even recognizable in the subsequent sequels. Perfect.

Having said that though, I have to admit that as the trailers for 28 Weeks started to hit, I became intrigued. What if this was actually good? Was it possible? Hmm

28 Weeks Later picks up with a man and wife who are riding out the storm of the Rage virus. They and some others have holed up in a small cottage and are waiting for the day someone saves them. Their children, a boy and a girl, have been sent to stay with their grandparents in the hope that they will be safe from this outbreak. A young boy comes to the door of the cottage in the hopes of finding shelter and when hes admitted into the home he is closely followed by people infected with the virus and they descend on the survivors. the man and wife are separated when the infected break into the home and the man (Robert Carlyle), in an utter act of cowardice, leaves his wife behind and runs. He is able to get into a boat and escape, barely, and the timeline moves forward. Flash to an American lead occupancy of Britain in the hopes of cleansing the country of the infection. After several months it appears they have destroyed the last of the virus and the re-population of the country begins. It will be a slow progress, and one overseen by the Americans, but in time, the hope is that life will return to normalcy. The man from the beginning is soon re-united with his children and the hard work of becoming a family begins. The question of what happened to their mother is a nagging one though and one which the father cannot easily explain away. Things get even more complicated when it turns out that the wife is still living and he truth of what hes done comes to the surface .The wife though is a carrier of the rage virus, the last carrier, and it seems that while shes a carrier, she isnt infected herself, making her very important to finding a cure. When the virus ends up breaking containment though, the cycle starts anew, with a new city full of helpless people ready for infection and a military that is unprepared to deal with a mass outbreak. When the virus begins spreading beyond containment the military decides its time to destroy the city and all in it, infected or not, so the disease wont spread further. A scientist with the military and a sniper join with several survivors (which include the two children) and begin making their way away from the city before its too late.

The first thing I will tell you is that the beginning will drop your jaw. As a friend put it, the beginning of the Dawn of the Dead remake was pretty hardcore, and this is just as hardcore. Its definitely scarier. Hell, Id say this film, overall, is scarier than its predecessor. They are working on a much larger canvas here and are telling a bigger story so there is a lot more that goes wrong. What I love is that, while the first film told a story of survival from the standpoint of a few, this is the struggle to survive for many. This is similar to Aliens in that way. The other thing is that there is a twist, hell, a series of twists that will leave your pretty breathless. I am shocked at the direction they took this film but love it. I love the danger of it. Just as I love how they nailed what makes things scary the dark, the silence, closed and cramped spaces, and the fear of becoming infected and becoming powerless.

I was also very impressed with how the American military was portrayed. Their role here mirrors what they are trying to do in Iraq and what the American military has tried to do for years but the thing is that, unlike say Battle Royale 2, there is no cynicism towards the Americans. They are shown as truly caring about putting Britain back to rights (theres an underlying cockiness about it, to be honest), and they want to get that job done. When things turn for the worst and they have to enact martial law and kill everyone in the city, leveling the city itself, they do it out of necessity and nothing more. This infection cannot escape Britain or else all may be lost. Its become all too easy (and not unwarranted, many times) to criticize and lampoon the military without giving them any depth and here you get some fairness. Its refreshing to see that the film addresses some bigger, political issues, but allows the film to be what it is a horror film.

Very damned good.

Its gory, scary, and best of all, is smart. Now, you wont get the deepest characters here, not at all, but youll get real characters that make real choices. There are moments that will frustrate you, and some that will anger you, but there are good reasons for the things people do. And as I have said earlier, this is very scary. They took what theyd done in the first film and ratcheted it up. Imagine, if you will, if the infected could think, or could direct their rage at someone, perhaps you. That is what were talking here.

The end will frustrate some, but the big problem I had was the camera use. There is just too damned much use of handheld cameras (I.E. shaky cam). They are used effectively in the beginning, and a few times otherwise, but there is too much reliance on them to create mood and fear. I will say that some of the digital effects DO look like digital effects. It didnt bother me a ton, but it was distracting, for sure. It is a shame that perhaps the best actor in the film has his character changed in such a way as to negate much of his acting ability, but then, I think that he does a great job in the role he does have.

If you like the first film, the odds are very, very good that youll like this smart, nasty follow-up. It was a wise move to release the film now, when there is generally only family fare and blockbusters filling theaters as this is a great alternative to that popcorn fare. If the theater we saw the film in is any indication, youre in for a very effective movie cause we all loved the hell out of it.

c




8 out of 10 Jackasses
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