28 Weeks Later is the sequel to the wildly successful 28 Days Later. As much as I actually like this movie, it doesn’t quite live up to the original.
There were a lot of great posters for this movie which played off the imagery of the first film. The blood read background and the stark black graphics with white typography. I picked this particular one as my favorite because it works well without giving anything away. We know what the story is likely about having seen the original and this image simply gives us a threatening image, a demonic, hornlike biohazard symbol.
The movie follows a family devastated by the events of the first film who may just hold the key to the future. As the title suggests it’s 28 weeks after the initial outbreak that destroyed Britain and people the disease has finally been neutralized. That is, all the infected have died off.
Small areas of London and other areas are being cleaned up in preparation for resettlement. The American military is at the fore of the struggle to help expat brits come back to their home countries to resettle. One has to wonder how many people are actually left to repopulate.
As with most sequels the action has been upped and so have the stakes. We get a wider world view of what has been happening outside the U.K.
As with most movies that try to sell the general public on an idea based mostly on science, we are introduced to genetic markers inherited from parents that helps support the idea that a carrier can share their immunity with their children thus hope and the next step in the larger story. Hence the posters showing a woman with two eyes of different colors, the visible story-telling element that clues the audience in to who the carriers are.
One last thing to look out for is the casting. The casting for this movie is actually really good. There are a number of people in this film who dot much more popular afterwards for other projects like Jeremy Renner who is now an Avenger.
There are a number of little story-telling conventions that I found a bit annoying. The Kid who shows up in the beginning at the same moment the dialogue cues him to do so. The shoddy walls of the farm house where the survivors are hiding in the beginning that any reasonably strong person could just break through. Why oh why would they stay there? There are things like the dad who doesn’t quite get along with his teenage daughter and the kids who go out into the dangerous area even though they were told not to. The fake jump scare when one friend pretends to be a monster to spook his friend. (Always a bad idea when he’s a soldier carrying weapons.) It’s not horrible but it’s standard.
Mostly what puts me off is that the important events of the film so neatly tie the family together. That they all survive despite the horrible events and somehow find each other again is a miracle in and of itself. That the main “bad guy” of the movie turns out to be the dad and they “happen” to encounter him in the end is too much. We don’t even need it to be a family unit. They could be strangers and I’d buy it more. And yes, the drama is heightened by the fact they are a family but it just makes all the pieces fit together too neatly for me.
– That being said I do like Robert Carlyle’s character even though he is an asshole. But he is at least one that we can sympathize with. He loved his wife. I believe he did, but when the infected came after them he ran for his life and left her behind. It’s heartbreaking and horrible but it’s the only way he survived. She was too far away and at a second-story window. With the infected swarming the farmhouse it’s impossible to believe he might have saved her. But something in us wishes he had done something, even if he failed.
The audience likes the hero to go down fighting.
– Although no one likes to say it, the creatures in these movies are not actually zombies. That was clearly stated by Danny Boyle when he made the first movie. They are infected humans, alive, but wildly dangerous.
– Some scenes are a bit cheesy. The helicopter scene in particular. It feels like a scene from a direct to DVD movie, not a big-budget film like this. There are some genuinely terrifying scenes because of this event particularly when the wife shows up again and when we learn she’s a carrier. I don’t want to give too much away but two things to look for are:
The Kiss and Paris.
You’ll know what I mean.