28 Weeks Later (18)

Written and Directed by Craig Brewer
On general release from 11th May 2007

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

Six months after the Rage virus has spread throughout Great Britain, the Americans restored order and repopulated the quarantined island.

They need not have bothered.

What we have here is an empty and needless sequel to Danny Boyle’s horrifying and engaging 28 Days Later. Where the original was a tale of human survival, this is a tale of inhuman slaughter.

None of the original cast reprise their roles, and with the new characters so one dimensionally obtuse, you find yourself thinking mankind would be better off if they die.

The film’s only meaningful segment is the opening sequence. Set during the events of the first film, it introduces Don and Alice (Robert Carlyle and Catherine McCormack), a married couple who have taken refuge from the infected in small cottage in the countryside along with other refugees. The director effectively instills a sense of claustrophobia on the viewer before the zombies storm the safe house and Don is left with no choice but to leave Alice behind.

After a strong opening ten minutes, 28 Weeks Later begins its descent on the downward spiral. The rest of the film is set six months later. With the last of the infected believed to have starved to death, London is gradually being repopulated by the U.S military, who now control the country. Don is reunited with his two children (who were in a refugee camp in Spain) and they are housed in accommodation in a cordoned off ‘Green Zone’.

At this point my stupidity detector flew into overdrive. Why would they begin to repopulate the country with piles of corpses the size of Everest still left to burn? The only thing more ridiculous than the film’s premise was the actions of every one of its characters. Through a comedy of errors - that leaves you wondering whether the characters were zombies to begin with - the virus comes back with a vengeance and spreads throughout the compound. From this point the film is little more than a gratuitous bloodbath.

There are a few saving graces. Mogwai’s moody, guitar driven soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to the set pieces, and there are some excellent shots of desolate London.

Such stylishness, however, is not enough to make the film any less grueling. The only thing I hoped survived by the end was my own brain cells.

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Comment left by Ben Howarth on 16th May, 2007 at 17:24
You're right, Mark; it's a stinker - a very self-conscious and misguided Iraq occupation allegory. The plot is about as plausible as the notion of Hartlepool winning promotion to the Premiership!

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