Sunday, May 20, 2007

28 Weeks Later

One of the oldest human fears is the fear of being chased. Everybody’s had a nightmare where they’ve been pursued at some point. It’s hardwired into us; it’s part of our primitive brain. This is one the big horrors of 28 Weeks Later, of being hunted, killed and devoured just like pray.

28 Weeks Later is the sequel to 28 Days Later, which came out in 2002 (Man! was it that long ago?), a surprise box office hit in the US. In the original film, London and thereby England is devastated by the release of the “rage virus,” a highly contagious, engineered superbug that rapidly transforms people into mindless, crazed, super zombie-like horrors.

In 28 Weeks Later the rage virus has supposedly run its course with some survivors apparently saved while the infected died off from the lack of “food.” The Americans come to the rescue, under the banner of NATO, by repatriating Brits to a secure zone on the Isle of Dogs in London. The job looks to be a cakewalk for the GIs until the rage virus is released anew in an acceptable plot twist. At first, the chain of command tries to protect the civilians, but as “containment” is lost the friendlies get “fired” in an all out turkey shoot. Of course there are a few good guys who have a conscience and help the main characters, but the shocks just keep coming as the characters race through the city trying to escape the infected and the death squads.

Rarely is a sequel as creditable as it’s originator, but 28 Weeks Later manages this feat. It stands on it’s own as an entertaining film but also expands on 28 Days both thematically and technically. Abandoned London figures prominently, providing a haunting environment for the story. The effect is aided by CG but it’s much more subtle than other recent action/horror films. Having been to London, it’s rather bizarre seeing it so empty.

One of the major themes of the 28 Weeks Later is the horror of the choices we make and their consequences. Do we choose ourselves over our loved ones? How about following orders that go against our morals? There doesn’t seem to be any good answers just the shock of what we do when we want to live just a few minutes longer. The action plays out with these sorts of questions in the background along with Iraq allegories.

28 Weeks Later is a good horror/action film. Chances are if you liked the first one you’ll like this one. It’s got plenty of chills and thrills without the ridiculous prototypical action movie gymnastics. It’s more honest and thereby more shocking. One can secretly see themselves making the same decisions if put in similar horrific situation. Primitive fears overrule the thinking brain and that’s the strength of 28 Weeks Later. That’s why you should see it. Well, that and folks getting devoured and infected by zombies hopped up on the Rage Virus.

Note: Following a pop culture trend, a graphic novel was published that ties the two movies together by examining what happened between the two films. It’s titled 28 Days Later: The Aftermath.



Arkonbey said...

I found that,as hard as I'd tried, I couldn't suspend my disbelief in the first film and that makes the second film not worth watching.

I'm not a medical professinal, but wouldn't it be true that any virus that
a) is 100% contagious,
b)has no cure
c) can completely infects the host in under 1 minute
d) infects via ANY fulid/flud contact
f)can live in necrotic tissue for an indefinite amount of time and still have all of the above would literally spell the end of mankind or at least make the island of Britan unlivable?

Dean Wormer said...

It's a zombie movie.


Swine - Have you read "World War Z?" Much zombie, post-apocalyptic goodness.

Arkonbey said...

Night of the Living Dead, it wasn't, Dean.

It wasn't even Return of the Living Dead.

Dean Wormer said...

Point is the suspension of disbelief for any film featuring walking or, in this case, running undead would have to be pretty darned high from the get-go.

"I bought E.T. up until he made the bike with the kid fly. Then it was just too fake."

Overdroid said...

The virus I found quite believable. Some virologists have suggested that a disease that spreads extremely rapidly would be less likely to infect a larger area. Also, many viruses do not survive well outside of their host body or once their host body is dead.

Anyway, I loved WEEKS, although I did have SOME suspension of disbelief issues:


You're safe from nerve gas if you get into a car and cover your mouth with your shirt? Really? And even if you just cover your mouth with your shirt you can survive in it for several minutes (assuming of course the "white mist" was nerve gas).

No one is going to listen to the woman who is IN CHARGE of the medical aspect of the entire mission? And once she ends up in the wrong area they consider her to be a target, just because that's where she is (and she can't just radio some one and say "Hey, I'm the head of medicine here, come get me.") Really?

The Code Red plan is to corral all the citizens in a spooky enclosed space underground and then shut off the lights everywhere in the city. Why? Seriously? REALLY?

Other than those I enjoyed the movie. It was a roller coaster ride and of course - I like zombie movies.

Arkonbey said...

As I type this, I wonder why I'm getting all uppity about this movie. It's really pretty silly of me.

I will say this: They infected in 28 aren't undead. They're diseased and this 'real-world' premise makes it harder for me to allow the initial suspension of disbelief that the presence of undead would allow.

Sure, we have to suspend our disbelief for non-documentary film, but even you, Dean, must have movies that gave you a 'awwww! come ON!' moment.

Overdroid: You have a point with the fast-infection. I talked to a biologist and she like that part.

Swinebread said...

Wow, great conversation. I was thinking that yeah maybe it was the more realistic nature of 28days that turned you off arkonbey, but after an initial huh, I went with it as dean did. Although, I will say that 28 weeks later does address two of your complaints in a small way. I did have the similar reaction to Jurassic Park. I was not impressed by dinos and so the movie was VERY boring for me.

Your complaints about 28 weeks OD were the same ones I had. They would have locked everyone down in their rooms or wherever they were and not gathered them together. As a person who has inhaled riot gas, I can say yes, they would have been affected immediately. The nerve gas would have had them choking, shaking and drooling rather quickly. Major Ross is an officer so she should have had pull to get what she wanted or needed.

Dean Wormer said...

Sure, we have to suspend our disbelief for non-documentary film, but even you, Dean, must have movies that gave you a 'awwww! come ON!' moment.

Yes. The Munchkins would've never helped Dorothy. Once the house fell on their witch nemesis they would've dragged her to an alley, beat her, robbed her and ate Toto.

Sooooo fake.

Overdroid said...

Long post. Got eaten. Stupid blogger.

Nick said...

The first one was awesome, this one was...well annoying.

The thing that bothered me the most was the fact that the kids knowingly went into a possible infected zone, it just didn't make sense to me. I don't care whether your a young kid or geriatric, your not gonna go somewhere, where there could be homicidal-rage infected humans en masse. What annoyed me even more was the fact that the military just LET THEM GO! WTF! Don't even get me started on the Underground scenes where they were screaming all the time or the camera work that went from cool to lame.

Overdroid said...

I agree, partially. It made total sense to me that the kids would go into the infected zone to find their house. They WERE just kids. However I completely agree that with all the high tech equipment the army had they should have been caught in 30 seconds (or at least followed by helicopters). So add that to my list of suspension of disbelief issues.

Swinebread said...

You know, my brain wanted me to be annoyed but for some reason neither of those things bothered me.

Swinebread said...

Nick... I read your blog. I sorry you felt you wasted your money. I had a good time.