Tuesday, 15 May 2007
Film: '28 Weeks Later'
After having seen ’28 Days Later’, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was strictly a one-off with no real possibility of a sequel. The people infected by the Rage virus have gradually starved to death and tentative efforts are being made to re-establish contact with Britain by Europe and America. Job done, right? Wrong.
’28 Weeks Later’ starts off in the midst of the Rage virus and then fast forwards to the present day where the American military are attempting to re-build London. An act of cowardice, from the past, ultimately leads to the Rage virus breaking out once again and all control is lost in some quite stunning cinematic scenes. In the midst of the chaos, an American doctor and a disillusioned sniper fight to protect a boy whose blood may hold the key to stopping the virus…
People are at great pains to point out that the people infected by the Rage virus are ‘infected’, they are NOT zombies! Having said that, ’28 Weeks Later’ pays homage to the ‘zombie master’ George Romero in an opening farmhouse scene taken almost directly from ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and a ‘death by helicopter’ scene that has echoes of ‘Dawn of the Dead’. The movie doesn’t suffer for this as these scenes cater for both lovers of suspense and gore (and there’s plenty of gore!) The film is set in London and shots of empty deserted streets and landmarks are once again used to great effect (as with the previous film). The emptiness and silence are so compelling that when I left the cinema I had to give myself a little slap in the face and re-adjust to finding myself in the midst of a bustling crowd once again. I don’t live that far away from Canary Wharf (where the Americans make their base) and the shots of Greenwich in flames touched a nerve as it’s only just up the road from my house! The story itself is a fairly standard ‘Get from A to B, avoid being gutted by the infected’ tale but moments of suspense/carnage pad this out and make it very watchable. Certain characters do fall prey to overdone horror clichés (if I’m trying to avoid being killed by psychotic infected people, the last place I will hide is the London Underground!) but for the most part stand up to examination very well. Robert Carlyle gives a very good performance as the grief stricken Don while Rose Byrne and Jeremy Renner also stand out as American military personnel on the run from both the infected and their own side. Mackintosh Muggelton (great name!) and Imogen Potts both give muted performances as Don’s children. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you whether they were told to act traumatised or if it was simply a case of wooden acting.
Despite some flaws, ’28 Weeks Later’ is well worth a night out at the cinema, especially if you enjoyed the first one. Two hours worth of well executed gore and suspense is money well spent for the true horror fan and the ending holds the possibility of more films to come. I hope so anyway.
Eight and a Half out of Ten