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Once bitten…

Nicola Mostyn finds that intelligent gore-fest 28 Weeks Later (18) is catching

Published on May 14th 2007.


Once bitten…

If there’s one thing worse than an insanely-contagious virus that turns you into a blood-spewing, flesh-chomping, rage-crazed zombie, then it’s the outbreak of said virus just when you thought you’d got it contained.

So in this sequel to Danny Boyle’s brilliant 2002 horror 28 Days Later, we revisit Britain six months down the line. The outbreak of Rage virus that swept across the country had died out, the infected have starved to death and survivors have been transported to the safe-zone of the Isle of Dogs, where the American army are overseeing the re-population of London.

The speed with which people turn into demented, cannibal, blood-churning monsters is as shocking as ever

This is where Don (Robert Carlyle) meets up with his kids, Andy and Tammy, who escaped Rage due to a well-timed school trip to Spain. Don, meanwhile, conceals from them the fact that, as we witness in the frenetic opening scenes, he fled a house under attack by zombies and left his wife for dead. But when the kids decide to cross the blockade to visit their family home (ok, this does seem a little silly…) they find their mother, crazed, covered in blood, but alive and un-infected. Or so it appears…

New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo makes a smart move by including none of the characters from the original film and by setting the action just a short leap in time from when Rage first overtook London. This allows 28 Weeks Later to shrug off the usual problems associated with a sequel, i.e. that they repeat the action of the first film with none of the surprises.

Instead, the sense of calm and order imbued by the boredom of the American soliders as they watch over an eventless terrain, coupled with the survivors’ matter of fact expectation that things will soon get back to normal injects a completely different atmosphere to the ready-for-death feel of the first, all the better to be torn apart when the virus takes hold once more.

You could read clear political Iraq War connotations in the actions of the American soldiers, there to protect the inhabitants of the ‘Green Zone’, but whose ultimate orders are to contain the virus no matter what the cost. And yet if it is just a gripping thriller you’re after, you won’t be disappointed either.

The speed with which people turn into demented, cannibal, blood-churning monsters is as shocking as ever, the thronging mass of wild-eyed walking dead is chillingly claustrophobic (think the Trafford Centre on a Saturday) and there’s no shortage of finely-executed gore, including a scene which shows that a low flying helicopter can do a lot worse than muss up your hair.

Avoiding big-budget slickness in favour of gritty cinematography and set to the hypnotic music of John Murphy, 28 Weeks Later is an intelligent horror film which races, pulses and spews blood like one of the infected.

28 Weeks Later (18) is out on general release





Chris says.." Go, it's brilliant"

Kaela says.." Nice article, but i've got something to add!'This allows 28 Weeks Later to shrug off the usual problems associated with a sequel, i.e. that they repeat the action of the first film with none of the surprises.'That's true, But I'd be more concerned about the fact that this movie is supposed to have occurred only 28 WEEKS after the infection took hold of Great Britain. I think he made a smart move not to include actors who were in the first one...how else would you explain the fact that they looked 5 years older?! (Made in 2002!)...Kinda obvious and would have looked great on the article lol.LOVED the film...if you have an afternoon spare, see this movie!Kaela x "

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