28 Weeks Later

Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend the first ever screening of 28 DAYS LATER, a film which held much hope within the UK film industry as the two people behind it, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland (TRAINSPOTTING, THE BEACH) were seen as today’s Powell and Pressenbergeresque dynamic duo. I thought the movie was the best British horror in years (bar the superb DESCENT) despite the fact that when I quizzed Garland he said he’s never read Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’ or seen the Vincent Price movie it was based on THE LAST MAN ON EARTH – remade as the Chuck Heston movie THE OMEGA MAN. I didn’t quite believe him. However the haunting images of a desolated London were unforgettable.

28 WEEKS LATER which is set six months after the rage virus was inflicted on the population of the British Isles, sees the US Army trying to help secure a small area of London for the survivors to repopulate and start again. But, this being a horror film, not everything is what it seems….

This sequel is even better than its illustrious predecessor and is the best horror film of the last 5 or so years. The acting by all involved is top notch; the sparse use of music to match the images on screen is very well used and both the emotional and horror aspects are brought to the fore by new director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Those of you who are fans of the George Romero DEAD films will love this as the gore factor as well as the social commentary, both important factors in Romero films (SHOPPERS ARE ZOMBIES etc), are major factors. The famous chopper scene in DAWN OF THE DEAD is repeated here but whereas that involved one zombie, the helicopter blades in this film are used against a whole field of zombies. A splatter-fest is not the word. However, it’s not all gore and the standout sequence is when our hero’s have to make there way through the London underground, over piles of “commuters”. This sequence, which relies on our childhood fear of the dark, runs like a fairground haunted house or ghost train ride and although the monsters are obviously better, these people would willingly pay to get out rather than go in. How many will emerge to the light of day is something that we are unsure of as this film does not have a specific hero and leading actors are not immune to the plague.

There are many references to England post 9/11 and 7/7, the firebombing of Canary Wharf, which one hopes will only ever be a special effect, being very unsettling. These days the spectacle of watching buildings destroyed leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

All in all this is a superb sequel and is better that it had any right to be. If you’d forgotten that horror movies were meant to frightening you rather than just manipulating the audience they are aimed at, then go and see this film. But be afraid, be very afraid.

Dr Kuma’s verdict: A horrific social commentary that you believe could actually happen, which makes it all the more frightening – unless you’re a good runner!

5 out of 6 stars

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