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May 15, 2007

Fletch's Film Review: 28 Weeks Later

Just the other day, I mentioned to a friend on mine (also a film geek) how I had seen 28 Weeks Later over the weekend. He looked at me quizzically.

"28 Weeks Later," I said.

Nothing.

"The sequel to 28 Days Later. You know, the zombie flick with Cillian Murphy?"

He was not aware that there was a sequel in existence, much less currently in the theaters, despite his owning the first. This either represents a horrible marketing effort by the folks over at Fox Atomic (which would be a shame, considering the excellent trailer they put out, featuring a great song by Muse. Watch it in HD if you can.), or he has become terribly unaware of the current goings on in the pop culture universe, considering that 28 Weeks Later was the biggest release in theaters this week. Either way, it's a shame.

28 Weeks Later is easily one of the better sequels that has been put out recently, and would stand up quite well even if the first film had not existed. This is partly attributed to the fact that none of the actors from the first film are in this one (Cillian Murphy was busy shooting Sunshine for Days director (and Weeks producer) Danny Boyle), but mostly attributed to the obvious skills of Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Though this is just his second feature (the first was the Spanish-language thriller Intacto), this film expands on the images from the first, all the while creating deeper characters while never forgetting that this is a "zombie" movie in the end.

The story takes place yet again in London, some six months after the first (hence the title, see?), in a "green zone" deemed safe by the now-in-charge U.S. military. The virus thought contained, survivors are now being brought back to their hometown. You can probably guess what happens next. Maybe.

Featuring a cast of mostly unknowns (the only exceptiona being Boyle's Trainspotting alum Robert Carlyle and Lost's Harold Perrineau), Fresnadillo spends much of the non-zombie time setting a serene atmosphere, with sweeping aerial views and almost-silent scenery shots. The shots of such an empty, beyond-peaceful London (on display as well in the first) could make for an interesting film in and of themselves, and the film gives off a vibe similar to that of the supremely underrated 2003 film Code 46. Luckily, when all hell breaks loose, the film doesn't follow suit and break down as well, and will leave you waiting for 28 Months Later.

Some leftover thoughts:

* The two kids featured are both relative, if not total newcomers to film, and they do a great job. That's not the crazy part, though - their names are. The daughter is played by one Imogen Poots and the son played by young Mr. Mackintosh Muggleton. I'm sure his family is just thrilled with J.K. Rowling...

* Killer poster - best of the year so far, and much better than the one they are currently using on IMDb (at right, though that one is pretty good as well).

* I doubt they were thinking sequel when the first was made, but regardless, someone deserves kudos for the ready-made sequel name (though I couldn't see it being realistically used beyond 28 Years Later). Aside from not being an unoriginal title like most sequels, it has a built-in plot. Perfect.

* Though I won't give it away, I didn't like the (absolute) ending at all. If you see it and wish to discuss, let me know. I found it to be easily the film's biggest flaw.

Fletch's Film Rating:

"Darn tootin'!"


1 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: 28 Weeks Later"

DAMIN said...

I really love the concept of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later fast moving zombies thrilling and a new take on the living dead. But although I enjoyed this movie I didn't enjoy it as much as 28 Days Later.