Film review: 28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later
2007
Fox Atomic, DNA Films, UK Film Council, Figment Films, Sociedad General de Cine (SOGECINE) S.A., Koan Films

STARRING Robert Carlyle, Catherine McCormack, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Idris Elba, Imogen Poots, Harold Perrineau
WRITTEN BY Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Enrique López Lavigne, Jesús Olmo
PRODUCED BY Allon Reich, Andrew Macdonald, Enrique López Lavigne, Bernard Bellew
DIRECTED BY Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

SHOT BY Enrique Chediak
EDITED BY Chris Coen
MUSIC BY John Murphy
DISTRIBUTED BY 20th Century Fox

Screened on 2007-05-03

Remember 28 Days Later?  Well, forget it.  There’s nothing like that here.  After the events of Days, London was quarantined and emptied – 28 weeks later, the benevolently despotic US Military is ready to repopulate the UK city.  Suddenly, and with virtually no fanfare, the apocalyptic infection finds itself back in the belly of the city, leaving the roughly 500 denizens the run away before they run amok.  The US Military instantly (and admittedly) loses control of the situation – but then, it’s easy to lose control when your definition requires nothing more than sporadic patrols of men in their mid-20s with automatic weapons.  Robert Carlyle plays a cowardly father whose two damn children are brought back to London, sans abandoned-mommy.  Boy, do those kids ever love exploring off-limits quarantine zones, investigating strange noises, and splitting up at every possible opportunity, danger notwithstanding. “Major” Rose Byrne, the adorable melancholy, and any-man Jeremy Renner embark to take Carlyle’s inexplicably immune children to safety – ‘immunity’ being an enormously important narrative device for such this story’s universe, and one that is glossed over and forgotten in this clumsy endeavor.  It becomes clear that the military will allow nobody to escape the city, so soon enough half of London is destroyed to contain less than 500 Infected.  In what should’ve probably been thought-provoking, the party spends equal amounts of time running away from gun-toting Americans as it does running from slobbering, raving Brits.

Compared to its predecessor, 28 Weeks is alarmingly amateurish horror fare.  What little story exists is shoddy, spotty, disjointed and ultimately hardly relevant, and the majority of the scares consist of little more than cheap cinematic tricks (example: unnatural quiet (digital tweak) followed by a shadowy body shooting into frame accompanied by deafening gibberish noise).  Honestly, these are the basest horror clichés, especially for anybody who’s seen at least a few flicks – which is everybody.  This film appeals to first-timers, teenagers, amateurs, and ones that have been utterly desensitized to its “next, next” level of pornographic, indulgent, and blasphemous gore.  Nonstop cutting, quantity-over-quality close-ups, and utterly frenetic camera work are choices that make up the physical product of the experience of 28 Weeks Later – the 99 minutes spent watching young, attractive characters act mildly off-put as they devastate the other men in their paths.  By the end of the film, my adrenaline was pumping hard, even though the film experience had been sedate, depressing.  I don’t want to imagine the impression that will be left on people who like the film – will they run amok?  Blame the film if you will – just remember that minds that are taken in by nonsensical, commercial violence may not have been too far removed from those cinematic Rage-infected maniacs in the first place.

written by David Ashley

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