Zombies on the Run
Yikes! Zombies are back in London for 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later. That popular 2003 scarefest concerned a virus infecting people living in England and turning them into flesh-eating zombies. But not the plodding, old fashioned type of zombie seen most recently in Shaun of the Dead. No, siree. This one’s a RAGE virus, causing victims to become hyper and hysterical -- to the point of running around bashing anything and anyone in their way into a bloody pulp.
In 28 Weeks Later, it’s believed the rage virus has been destroyed. For some reason or other, the U.S. army is in charge of reconstruction and the return of refugees to London. Focusing on a particular family among these refugees, 28 Weeks Later evokes our empathy for a brother (Mackintosh Muggleton) and sister (Imogen Poots) who end up being chased relentlessly by newly infected zombies as well as by forces charged with annihilating the virus.
We desperately want these siblings to survive, not merely because they’ve been through so much suffering but also because one of them may be immune to the rage virus. If so, an antidote might be developed after further study.
I think that’s all I should reveal about the plot. I don’t want to spoil the thrill of watching the many surprises this movie contains. However, regarding performances, Muggleton and Poots are outstanding. They do an excellent job of projecting extreme fear as well as their emotional attachment to each other. Not as successful here is Robert Carlyle (Angela’s Ashes), who plays their father. His thick accent makes him very hard to understand most of the time.
My only other criticism of 28 Weeks Later involves its uneven cinematography. Jerky hand-held camera work and hectic, blurry zombie rampages really annoyed me because I couldn’t tell what was happing during those parts of the film. Still, the claustrophobic, you-are-there type of photography in other scenes adds to the movie’s suspense and terror. Also, the bleak look of a ravaged London, reminiscent of Children of Men, is quite impressive for its surrealistic presentation in several brilliant sequences.
Directed passionately by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto), 28 Weeks Later is an intensely exciting film that highlights such humanistic themes as courage, morality, “the greater good,” and family loyalty during a cataclysmic crisis. But, even more important for horror fans, it’s very, very scary. I'm looking forward to the third installment, which will surely follow.
(Released by Fox Atomic and rated “R” for strong violence and gore.)