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Movie Review: 28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later
Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Written by Fresnadillo, Rowan Joffe, Jesus Olmo, and E.L. Lavigne
Fox Atomic

Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later was a surprise in that it made a zombie picture feel like new.  So a sequel seems, at first, like an impossible task without making a full-on rehash.  And with a bigger budget, usually the death knell of any kind of creepiness that a low-budget film has on its side, not only could this picture have been a rehash, but an incredibly dumb, mindless rehash.  Credit new director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and his fellow screenwriters: they’ve made a pretty good follow-up.

The Rage virus, which turns people into violent zombies, has been running rampant on the countryside.  Don (Robert Carlyle) and his wife Alice (Catherine McCormack) are holed up in a cottage owned by an older couple, who are sheltering two other uninfected inhabitants.  One day, the infected break into the house and Don cowardly runs from his wife, out the door, saving his own ass.

Don awaits the arrival of his kids, who had been sent away for awhile, in a quarantined patch of London where many uninfected stay.  Don lies to his daughter Tammy (extremely pretty Imogen Poots) and son Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) about his cowardess and tells them their mother died.  You can imagine that this will come back to bite him later…literally.

Keeping patrol at the quarantine are U.S. troops, led by Stone (Idris Elba).  A military doctor named Scarlet (Rose Byrne) and a sniper named Doyle (Jeremy Renner) become secondary heroes to the story but become the primary heroes later, assisted by Flynn (Harold Perrineau).  When the kids escape the quarantine and find their mother, seemingly unaffected, and the military brings her back for study, the film is set up for some nice intrigue.

It’s by no means a perfect film, and I thought the narrative could have unfolded differently, but there are some very good scenes in this film and it makes it worth the while.  It’s more an action picture than a horror film, but there are some decent scares in here: I love the part where the quarantined are sent to a dim bunker for safety, but they are anything but safe.

Fresnadillo has some flair behind the camera, not too showy, keeping the indie feel while at the same time working with a Hollywood budget that begs more and more spectacle.  And sure, you’ll get that from time to time, but nothing wrong with that.  It’s not as scary as Boyle’s film, but this is a satisfying sequel.

Follows: 28 Days Later 

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