Review: 28 Weeks Later (2007)  

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I was a little worried when I read part of this review (Warning Spoilers) on MSNBC that the movie would not be very good.

The new sequel, “28 Weeks Later,” will likely be only a blot on the careers of everyone involved. It’s a chaotic movie about chaos, full of sound and fury and signifying very little.

Whereas Alex Garland’s script for “28 Days Later” held together and made quite a bit of narrative sense — especially for a zombie movie set in modern London — the sequel can’t seem to decide who’s the hero (or villain), what the threat is, and why anyone should care about who gets blown away.

I found the review to be misleading.

This movie was more of a horror than the first and more consistently steady. My opinion is that the first one fell apart after the first half, after the "Dad Scene", as I like to call it without giving away too many details. Although I like the first movie better, mostly due to better characterization, I think the second succeeds in delivering more steady pacing and smoother transitions.

*** Spoilers Below ***

The most poignant scenes are between Don and Alice, a couple that hides out in the country when the infected begins to spread. We see them in the opening scene, worrying about their children and stealing a kiss when they have a brief moment of privacy. The action becomes frenetic, aided by quick, jumpy camera work as the infected attack. When Alice is trapped upstairs, with an infected between her and Don, Don panics and shuts the door, trapping her inside. He runs from the house, turning back to watch as she is pulled away from the window. It's a gut-wrenching scene. He escapes, grief-stricken and guilty.

Later in the movie when Alice returns, infected and yet not zombie-fied, Don sneaks into her room and begs her forgiveness. The only thing she says is, "I love you." Don kisses her, only to become infected (and zombie-fied himself). At first I thought maybe it was her way of seeking revenge, but I think she honestly didn't realize that she'd infect Don. When he later attacks her, she is genuinely scared and confused. If she had been seeking his death and hers, I think she would have been more accepting of her fate.

The movie is filled with many "don't do that" moments that were thankfully avoided through most of the first movie. And at times it's ridiculous, like when Don and Alice's children sneak past American soldiers occupying London to help with the rebuilding, so that they can visit their old house. They're so sure that all of the zombies are dead that they are unprepared when Alice is discovered. Yes, American soldiers are occupying London and there are real-life parallels that can't be ignored, another weak point of the movie.

In the end, the children make it out alive, but not before facing down and killing their own father. They survive to carry the infection out of the island and to the mainland of Europe. The movie ends as darkly as it starts. There only hope expressed in the movie, a genetic resistance, ultimately becomes humanity's doom.

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