Friday, October 12, 2007

DVD Review: "28 Weeks Later"

Danny Boyle's 2002 film "28 Days Later" was the first film in the zombie genre that I recall featuring so-called "fast zombies", that is, zombies that don't react like the slow moving zombies of the George Romero films. Personally, I find this to be a much more scary, and more realistic depiction of zombies-- at least as realistic as the undead can be.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's sequel "28 Weeks Later" deals with the rebuilding effort of London in the wake of the first film's events. Essentially they had evacuated all of London, leaving the infected people to starve to death. After six months, they begin to repopulate the area, with the help of U.S. Armed Forces. What they don't realize is that some people who were attacked were not fully infected, and have become carriers of the virus. It's a decent setup, but I couldn't help but think that the use of U.S. Armed Forces as the occupying force in London wouldn't turn out to be more than a pseudo-political potshot at the American Military. After all, some of the most notable zombie movies are known to have socio-political commentary at their root-- just look at Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." Turns out I gave this film too much credit, because this one had no discernible subtext to it at all.

The pace of this film is not nearly as frenetic as the original. Being that it is about a group of survivors, led by a US sniper, eluding both the zombies and the Military who believe them to be infected, all of their movements are much more deliberate and tactical. There were a few decent scenes, most notably one which involves a helicopter mowing down a field of hapless zombies, "Dead Alive" style. But for the most part this was just a rehashing of everything we've already seen in the first film.

I'm not convinced that this sequel was necessary. It did nothing to further or enhance the story of the original. This is a sub-par entry in the zombie genre, offering nothing in the way of a new take or a diffrerent aspect of the genre. If the themes of this film grab your fancy, pick up the first film, "28 Days Later", as this one is better left on the shelf. And in case you are wondering: yes, it was left open to a sequel, one that will further sully the original's chances at being considered a classic. Pity.

Score: 2 out of 5

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