Director – Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Cast – Robert Carlyle, Catherine McCormack, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Idris Elba
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
It is very rare that sequel to an amazing film is equally, if not better, than the original. That rarity is shown here in the case of “28 Weeks Later”, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s masterpiece, “28 Days Later“. This flick, just like 28 Days Later, has a perfect blend of tension, carnage, and drama and in my eyes surpasses 28 Days Later on several levels, although I will admit this film has an unfair advantage.
This film picks up six months(six months is equivalent to 28 weeks? I guess so!) after the events of 28 Days Later. The events of 28 Days Later left London and it’s surrounding area decimated. During the last 28 weeks, the US Army has quarantined the city and is attempting to restore order and life back to the once lively city. During repopulation, a family makes a discovery that will soon endanger the lives of everyone. An innocent attempt at reconciliation brings the infection back into the quarantine zone, causing mass chaos and forcing the military to defy all precautions and do anything and everything to contain this virus. However, a small group of survivors may hold the key to finally finding a cure for the virus. Unfortunately for them, they face the ultimate danger by having to deal with the growing plague of infected, as well as a zero-tolerance military as they attempt to make their way out of the city.
First off, let’s talk story. I really enjoyed the storyline for this film. From the post-infection tranquility and peace, to the family’s struggles caused by the infection, to the search for a cure, and to the outright carnage of well-armed military vs. the infected, this film does a lot. Aside from all this complexity added to the plot, it never got convoluted nor confusing. Bravo to the writers! The drama added in this film is real, and heartfelt, much like the drama Mr. Boyle introduced in 28 Days Later. I also loved the fact that the military was brought into this film’s story. Normally us horror fans would balk at such an idea because it reeks “Hollywood” and we usually would prefer a group of survivors to ransack a gun shop or create some makeshift weapons to fight off the dead. But in this film’s case, because it takes place after the city has been quarantined, it only makes sense for the military to already be on hand. Plus the military presence ads some great conflict to the film. You’ll see.
Now not only was the film’s writing great, but it’s direction was amazing. I was very impressed with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s direction in this film, and he very much captivated the audience the same way Danny Boyle did in the film’s predecessor. Everything Mr. Fresnadillo did with this film was awesome. His wide panning shots of the city after it was rid of the infected, to the wide panning shots some 30 minutes later when the infected run amok on the streets chomping down on the screaming survivors. Awesome! I also liked how he portrayed the military in this film. The military aspect was well written, and he put it to screen in awesome fashion. I personally loved the snipers on the rooftops picking off the infected left and right. You want gore? You got gore! This film gave us more zombie kills than it’s predecessor did, but of course we had more guns in this film. The pacing for this film was very good as well, I never once lost interest and was captivated throughout the film’s runtime. But of course, being the awesome chap that he is, Danny Boyle had a small part in this film as a second unit director during a scene early on in this film. It is a dramatically gut-wrenching scene as well. The kind of drama that bleeds “Danny Boyle”. If you’ve seen this, or WHEN you see this, pay attention to the end scene at the barn involving the husband and wife.
So why does this film have an unfair advantage over the original? Well simply put, sequels are able to take off right away, whereas originals must develop the story. This in some cases causes the original to seem a bit dull in comparison to it’s prequel. I would never once refer to 28 Days Later as a “dull” film, but it is because of this notion that this film is able to surpass it. 28 Days Later moved a lot slower because of Danny Boyle’s key use of development as a way to show the voracity these types of helpless events can have on the human mind. Because Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland went this route, 28 Weeks Later was able to open up right at the beginning with some great carnage and heart pounding thrills. The rest of the film moves quickly because you already know what has happened, there is no need for much development aside from a bit of character development, which did not slow down the film at all. In this case it is the sequel that is more exciting, while the original is more atmospheric. Make your choice of what matters to you the most. As far as my rating goes, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo can thank Danny Boyle for opening the door for him to make a fast paced horror flick that delivers the goods fresh and with just the right amount of everything that matters.
Overall, this is an amazing horror film that I recommend all horror fans give a watch. If you liked the first film, you are sure to enjoy this one. If you didn’t like the first film(you probably suck), then regardless, you are sure to enjoy this one.
– I ranked this film #13 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(11-20) post.