Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Someone Breaks Quarantine To Give Us A Review Of 28 WEEKS LATER!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. I liked Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s first film, INTACTO. I didn’t love it, but I thought it was muscular filmmaking, and I was intrigued when they hired him to direct the follow-up to Danny Boyle’s not-a-zombie movie. Did he pull it off? Has he maybe even topped the original? That’s what I’ve been hearing, and today’s reviewer had a chance to check it out already:

I don’t know about you, but on paper I wasn’t entirely sold on 28 Weeks Later, an entirely new cast, a couple of kids among the leads and what sounded like a horribly laboured allegory for US/British involvement in Iraq. Now I loved the opening of the first one, but thought it took a distinct turn for the worse the moment they reached Christopher Eccleston and his not-so-merry men. So, it’s a pleasure to report that 28 Weeks Later is, in most respects, far superior to the first film – it’s a nasty, unpleasant, edge-of-the-seat ride that pretty much takes the premise of the first movie, adds a bucket load of cash and turns it into a top-notch horror/action movie. In short it’s pretty much the leap that Alien made to Aliens or Blade did to Blade II – which probably means we’re due a ropey third instalment around 2009. 28 Weeks Later opens in a farmhouse where a small band of survivors are holed up during the initial outbreak. It starts so deliberately quietly and slowly (with a lovely candlelit scene between Robert Carlyle and screen wife Catherine McCormack) that you might wonder whether you’ve accidentally wandered into a different movie entirely. Needless to say, it soon goes horribly, horribly wrong and the infected arrive and proceed to wreak merry havoc. Now I thought they were pretty unpleasant in the first film but the way they’re portrayed in this one is just downright nasty – no comic relief, no jokes, just an awful lot of puking blood, snarling and biting. Carlyle escapes but not before doing something pretty downright awful that manages to be simultaneously sort-of-understandable and downright spineless. The rest of the film plays out six months later, when he’s reunited with his kids who escaped the outbreak because they were overseas on a school trip. Anyway, the US army is overseeing the return of around 15,000 Britons to a quarantined area called the green zone. They’re settled in Canary Wharf (a huge office complex for anyone not familiar with that end of London) and, amid the expected scenes of desolate emptiness (arguably even more impressive this time round and presumably the result of a fair bit of digital car and people removal), we slowly get to meet a few of the American soldiers – although it’s probably the film’s biggest flaw that they don’t really register as characters in their own right. Now there’s no point in giving any more of the plot away because, as you’d expect, everything goes horribly, horribly wrong. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes Danny Boyle’s visual style from the first movie and runs with it – crafting a great series of action set pieces. There’d napalm, chemical weapons and snipers while the Isle of Dogs gets comprehensively trashed as the body count runs into the thousands. There’s a chase through Parliament Square that ends up in Charing Cross station (as a Londoner, one of the real joys of this film is that it gets all the geography absolutely spot on – there’s no thinking oh, hang on, that isn’t there) and then down into the Underground where, in a sequence that suggests more than a passing acquaintance with The Descent, our ever-dwindling band of survivors head down into pitch black darkness. Oh, and the station’s full of decaying corpses, rats and zombies. What’s great, is that every so often you latch onto a character – think ‘oh, that’s obviously the hero’ or ‘well, she’s the heroine’ only to watch them get torn to bits ten minutes later. There’s nothing predictable about who survives and who doesn’t (with one very obvious exception) and the film cleverly wrong-foots you on exactly who’ll be dismembered/eaten/puking blood next. In fact, it’s so effective that even innocuous scenes had me wincing, simply because I was expecting something absolutely awful to happen and there’s no doubt that Fresnadillo enjoys toying with his audience in this way. It’s not all great though – a scene involving a helicopter blade and a bunch of zombies in an overgrown Hyde Park didn’t work for me – mainly thanks to the CGI helicopter – but if you want gore with your zombie movie then this is the scene that gives it to you in spades. Some of the characters are a bit on the thin side – Harold Perrineau is rather wasted and the teenage angst between Robert Carlyle and his kids, while an attempt to ground the film in realistic human emotions, doesn’t entirely come off. Finally, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised not to have been hit over the head with an elaborate metaphor for US involvement in the Middle East (surely the cinematic cliché for 2007), although a scene where the soldiers, unable to distinguish between refugee and zombie, are ordered to fire on the civilian population, will inevitably cause highbrow critics to ponder whether the film is a damning indictment of the Iraq situation. For my money it’s all a bit like 300 – you can read whatever you like into it, although Fresnadillo has certainly cribbed bits from television newscasts of troops in Bagdad and Basra . In fact, the entire film seems predicated on the premise that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Basically, everything that does go wrong happens because someone ignores the (eminently sensible) rules, tries to save someone, or thinks they know better. So there you have it – 28 Weeks Later, a cracking action/horror film and hopefully the first of many decent summer movies. Hell, it even makes you think a bit. But not too much…
Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • April 13, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    28th!

    by Lando Griffin

    posts later

  • April 13, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    First?

    by SpencerTrilby

    Fuck off, I don't care. The fist one was a lame "Romero for Dummies" complete with the civilized zomb. The first 30 minutes were very good though, what a waste of talents.

  • April 13, 2007, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Cant wait even more so

    by magnetoelectric

    Damn big shoes to fill from the first.

  • April 13, 2007, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Ahhaa Second! U bitches!

    by SpencerTrilby

    Well done Lando. You double crossing gaz tycoon.

  • April 13, 2007, 5:49 p.m. CST

    THIS YEAR'S LITTLE MISS ZOMBIES!!!

    by Err

    YAY!

  • April 13, 2007, 5:53 p.m. CST

    Err's on a roll...

    by Pennsy

    WAR! :D

  • April 13, 2007, 6:01 p.m. CST

    damn Americans..

    by The Dum Guy

    Always confusing zombies with civilians, Croatians would never allow this to happen.

  • April 13, 2007, 6:06 p.m. CST

    I'm excited to see this

    by quadrupletree

    I loved the first film so much. I'm not a huge zombie movie fan and the first movie caught me so off guard. I hope this is good. Don't fuck it up!

  • April 13, 2007, 6:07 p.m. CST

    stringer bell be smokin some motherfuckin zombies

    by waggy

    since he's already dead and now walking around, doesn't that make him a zombie too though?

  • April 13, 2007, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Scene involving a helicopter blade & a bunch of zombies

    by Z 008

    Kinda like Planet Terror?

  • April 13, 2007, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Where's the choad who has to come in and tell us

    by I Dunno

    that they're not zombies? I miss him.

  • April 13, 2007, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Little Miss British Zombies

    by zinsider

    sorta?

  • April 13, 2007, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Intacto...

    by Garbageman33

    Wasn't a great film, but it looked amazing. Hopefully, he kept the same cinematographer. Not really buying the casting of Robert Carlyle, though. To go from Cillian Murphy to him is a bit like the Hulk going from Eric Bana to the lunkheaded brother from Prison Break. Ok, maybe not that bad. But you get the idea.

  • April 13, 2007, 6:34 p.m. CST

    PLANT!!!

    by pate

    Ummm... he didnt even try to hide it did he??

  • April 13, 2007, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Mutated Zombie's Gotta Eat!

    by Phillyflopper

    Seeequels!!!!

  • April 13, 2007, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Blade 2 was awful.

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    Horrible offensive peace of shit garbage.

  • April 13, 2007, 6:51 p.m. CST

    why the hate for the Chris Eccleston part.

    by modlight

    I thought it was great, the whole army guy thing. They took a different turn. So sue them. whatever.

  • April 13, 2007, 6:59 p.m. CST

    I hated 28 Days Later, but I will see this.

    by Brendan3

    I thought 28 Days Later was a good idea... but bad film, ruined by a self indulgent director more interested in stylized shots than logic and common sense. I'm looking forward to 28 Weeks Later. I think it's a great concept and hopefuly it will be done right this time.

  • April 13, 2007, 7:07 p.m. CST

    clip

    by landster

    Fox Atomic has added the farmhouse attack scene in their restricted section..

  • April 13, 2007, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Zinsider

    by Err

    Thank you for correcting me. :D

  • April 13, 2007, 7:38 p.m. CST

    Funny post Lando

    by Darth Thoth

    28th! That was hilarious. Yeah, I'm looking forward to this movie. I enjoyed the first one and can't wait to see what they do with the sequel.

  • April 13, 2007, 7:45 p.m. CST

    From Alien to Aliens and from

    by MrJJonz

    Blade to Blade II. Aliens was fun but not as atmospheric as Alien. Blade was good, Blade II shit. 28 days later was average at best so the comparison probably isn't the best way of selling it.

  • April 13, 2007, 7:58 p.m. CST

    I'm rubbing my balls together

    by ballsmcretard

    three times for luck to ensure this will be a fine movie...for god's sake please dont let this guy ruin the series until Boyle can get back to the helm for part 3...my balls never let me down

  • April 13, 2007, 8:57 p.m. CST

    28 Days Later- the happy/sappy/crappy hollywood ending

    by electroaddict

    I liked "28 Days Later" up until the very end- where *SPOILER ALERT* all 3 main characters survive and live happily ever after in a nice little cottage in the country. BOO! The director should've had some BALLS and used the original ending (which is viewable on the DVD) where the guy dies and the two girls are left to fend for themselves. It was harsh, realistic and very satisfying. If only that ending was tacked onto the actual film, I'd say "28 Days Later" was probably the best zombie movie of all time. I'll give this new "28" a spin, but I'm not expecting anything great.

  • April 13, 2007, 8:58 p.m. CST

    ZOMBIE PLANT: SHOOT THE HEAD AND THE BODY WILL DIE

    by Pound Sand

  • April 13, 2007, 9:46 p.m. CST

    funny you should say electroaddict

    by aestheticity

    that ending is always tacked onto the very end when the film is televised, at least here in britain. even though its an alternate ending, tacking it on like they do makes it seem more like the REAL ending, with the happy ever after ending being the guys dying coma dream.

  • April 13, 2007, 10:55 p.m. CST

    The Australian ending to 28 Days Later

    by Laserbrain

    may be similar to the British TV ending mentioned above. In our theatrical release the story ended with the trio's survival however after the end credits the subtitle "But what if...?" appeared segueing into the more downbeat hospital scene where Jim died leaving the two girls alone. I am annoyed to this day that the Aus DVD retains the happy denouement while relegating the downer ending to the deleted scenes.

  • April 13, 2007, 11:38 p.m. CST

    have to floss

    by Turd Furgeson

    Need to get the PLANT out of my teeth..... Am really looking forward to this though!!

  • April 13, 2007, 11:54 p.m. CST

    ok just downloaded that farmhouse scene

    by Turd Furgeson

    and it is fucking intense!!! Thanks for the heads up landster. Now im really excited to see this.

  • April 14, 2007, 12:28 a.m. CST

    TRY A SHOT GUN, CHAINSAW OR EVEN A SAMURI SWORD

    by gride9000

    28

  • April 14, 2007, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Damn you Micheal Bay!!!

    by AvengingFist

    a

  • April 14, 2007, 1:26 a.m. CST

    electroaddict you moron

    by arrangedletters

    It was harsh, realistic and very satisfying. Yeah realistic.

  • April 14, 2007, 2:25 a.m. CST

    blah

    by disfigurehead

    I hate running zombies.

  • April 14, 2007, 3:32 a.m. CST

    People saying "plant" with this review...

    by ScarranHalfBreed

    ...must be fucking psychic. This doesn't seem like a plant review to me, and those who are saying it is are just craving attention. So shut the fuck up.

  • April 14, 2007, 4:18 a.m. CST

    aaaaaaahhahahahahaha!

    by supersize

    Did he really say cillian murphy better than carlyle ahahahahahhaha

  • April 14, 2007, 5:24 a.m. CST

    Yes he did!

    by Teamwak

    Ahhhahahahhhaaaaaa!<p> Bring this on! 28th!!

  • April 14, 2007, 5:43 a.m. CST

    fuck the alternative ending for 28 days later

    by The Kusabi

    There was two refreshing things about 28 days later (A) it was a horror movie that had a male lead character as opposed to a run-of-the-mill female final-girl survivor and (B) HE DIDN'T FUCKING DIE AT THE END. And yet some people aren't happy because he didn't. Probably because he didn't die some sacrificial death for the sake of some woman who started out willing to leave him to be torn to pieces. Hint, it was his fucking story and the ending to it was fucking brilliant.

  • April 14, 2007, 6:45 a.m. CST

    Alien is great, and maybe better but...

    by CuervoJones

    Aliens is the movie you watch in your DVD

  • April 14, 2007, 6:48 a.m. CST

    All zombie movies have a sad ending.

    by CuervoJones

    So 28 Days Later was original with that happy ending

  • April 14, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST

    sounds good but

    by ikkyu

    where's Dog Soldiers 2?

  • April 14, 2007, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Cracking

    by IJUSTLIKEMOVIES

    I was thinking, "Wait for it..."

  • April 14, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Helicopter Blades and Zombies...

    by Leto III

    GRINDHOUSE didn't do this concept first...that honor belongs to Max Brooks's novel WORLD WAR Z, at the Battle of Yonkers. Though both were clearly developed independently of one another, so we'll cut Rodriguez some slack, there. How 28 WEEKS handles it, however, remains to be seen.

  • April 14, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    how about Dawn of the Dead

    by Kloipy

    remember that helizomb riot?

  • April 14, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Gonna be good...

    by TORTURE PWN

    This movie,I mean.Not me.

  • April 14, 2007, 10:42 a.m. CST

    The ending of 28 Days Later

    by tapehead

    I read in a recent interview with Boyle on the BBC website that the original script Alex Garland wrote had a finale where the three survivors left Heathrow in a passenger jet with the infected/zombies hanging off the plane getting sucked into the engines. They made the movie they could make and the three survived. It's great to see deleted scenes and alternate endings on DVDs, but if you listen to Boyle's commentary it's pretty clear why they weren't used.

  • April 14, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Zombies and Helicopter Blades

    by tapehead

    Dawn of the Dead

  • April 14, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    DMZ with Ballard overtones?

    by DannyOcean01

    Sounds like it...

  • April 14, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Zombies and helicopter blades also in Birth of a Nation

    by Pound Sand

  • April 14, 2007, 12:51 p.m. CST

    28 Days Later was genius...

    by YO MOM'S GOAT

    All of you panty-waists who think it sucked once the soldiers showed up don't understand the movie. It wasn't just some zombie horror Dark Castle crap.<p> It was a movie about the nature of violence and the human animal.<p> Geez louise. For a site with political commentary all over the place and talkbackers who seem to find some anti-American message in every scene of every flick ever made and are just convinced that they KNOW film you're all a bunch of twits.<p> Look a little deeper. You might enjoy it more.<p>

  • April 14, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Yo Moms Goat

    by PotSmokinAlien

    personally i think the very reason it sucked is exactly what you say. that is hardly deep or new ground to cover and they didnt do it in a different way at all. up to then it had been a pretty original movie and that is where it turns into a giant, obvious cliche. thats why it takes a turn for the worse.

  • April 14, 2007, 3:35 p.m. CST

    28 Days Was Shit

    by DannyOcean01

    A very dull Romero rip-off lauded because they cleared out Londons streets for a few hours. Just because it wasn't glossy like the similar scene in Vanilla Sky we're supposed to wank explode....No..sorry..

  • April 14, 2007, 4:58 p.m. CST

    IMO, people who hated 28 days later have a screw loose

    by smackfu

    as it was the first interesting and entertaining zombie movie I've seen in at least a decade. The first one cool enough to buy and watch repeatedly. Basically, if you look at all those other predictable clones of zombie movies out there, and think 28 Days Later was the one that was shit, your opinion means shit on the subject. Because saying that is basically like saying Fight Club was stupid, no where near as good as Con Air or White Chicks.

  • April 14, 2007, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Using Helicopter Blades to Chew Up Zombies, I Meant...

    by Leto III

    ...and come to think, I now believe that plot-device was first used in LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD.

  • April 14, 2007, 7:39 p.m. CST

    getting pwnd

    by tapehead

    only hurts for a moment - suck it up.

  • April 14, 2007, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Blade II sucks compared to the first movie

    by AlwaysThere

    How dare you say there's a jump in quality.

  • April 14, 2007, 9:56 p.m. CST

    28 Days Later = pure ownage

    by Chief Redcock

    Hopefully this will own too (though I wish Boyle had returned).

  • April 14, 2007, 9:58 p.m. CST

    boyle's film was good bid-ness

    by The Atomic Worm

    Yes, fanboys, good bid-ness. Look at me, here I am.

  • April 15, 2007, 2:55 a.m. CST

    I'm Sold

    by MarkoOhNo

    Yup.

  • April 15, 2007, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Hope It'll be downright horribly, horribly good!

    by Johannes

    As the review said basicly...

  • April 15, 2007, 11:51 a.m. CST

    The key to the 'empty London' sequence

    by performingmonkey

    They shot it at 4am in the middle of summer then digitally altered Big Ben to another time rather than having to digitally remove people/cars. They only had to close the road off for something like 10 minutes.

  • April 15, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Did I just read that correctly?

    by ViolentN8

    Did this 'Spy' just compare 28 Days Later and fucking Blade to ALIEN? Wow.

  • April 15, 2007, 5:55 p.m. CST

    PotSmokinAlien

    by YO MOM'S GOAT

    If you didn't like it because it was a morality play about the positive use of horrific interpersonal violence then that's one thing, but you're one of the few. Most of these enlightened lefties on this site and in these talkbacks say they hated it because "I hate stupid soldiers and it wasn't no flippin' zombie movie no more jest a stupid soldier movie and who cares about dem soliers."<p> They hate it because the driver of the narrative turns from "real cool zombies" to "stupid soldiers," thus proving they are idiots and didn't get the movie at all.<p> Tools.<p>

  • April 15, 2007, 5:56 p.m. CST

    ViolentN8

    by YO MOM'S GOAT

    I'd compare 28 Days Later to Alien. They're both fantastic. The former just has less of a mass market appeal and didn't draw the cross-over audience that Alien did.<p> But both, in their own way, are genius. Yes. I said it. Genius.

  • April 15, 2007, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Blade II

    by Sappers Forward

    You wrote: "In short it’s pretty much the leap that Alien made to Aliens or Blade did to Blade II" Blade II sucked ass and it only ruined status that the original Blade was enjoying. The third movie isn't even worth mentioning..now I must vomit a little bit for even thinking about it.... So if this movie follows in that tradition as you've so stated,...I'll be happy to miss this one.

  • April 15, 2007, 6:04 p.m. CST

    ViolentN8

    by decfx

    28 Days Later could never come close to Alien. I'm glad you like "28" but after the first half, it went downhill big time!! Just a mess. By the way, Blade II sucked.

  • April 15, 2007, 6:05 p.m. CST

    oops..I meant YO MOM'S GOAT

    by decfx

    I meant YO MOM'S GOAT!!! LOL. That's what I get.

  • April 15, 2007, 7:45 p.m. CST

    So many idiots....

    by pdennett316

    1) Robert Carlyle could out-act Cilian (thin gothy twat) Murphy any day of the week. 2) 28 Days Later was fantastic. 3) It did not have a 'tame' zombie in it a la Day/Land of the Dead. One of the soldiers was infected and they tied him up out back before he turned. He wasn't trained, as evidenced by him eating the other squaddies who fucked with him. 4) Blade 2 ruled, and was superior to the great original in every way. 5) Romero didn't start the zombie genre, he just popularised it, zombies existed before his films. Thus Romero is a some-other-guy-ripoff.

  • April 15, 2007, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Can't wait.

    by livrule

    But as has been said already .... Dr Who and his gang of grunts ruined the first film.

  • April 15, 2007, 9:05 p.m. CST

    ZOMBIES GOTTA EAT

    by JackSack

    ...Brains...! I liked 28 Days Later. Enjoyed the look and feel to it. But, I'm really looking forward to The Crazies remake. Loved that movie.

  • April 16, 2007, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Last!

    by DerLanghaarige

  • April 16, 2007, 2:43 p.m. CST

    stop comparing every movie to iraq

    by ZO

    unless the premise of every movie is to wipe out terrorist scumbags and spread democracy