28 Weeks Later

Darkness prevails and the level of suspense substantially increases in 28 Weeks Later, a terrifying horror movie and fantastic sequel to Danny Boyle’s 2002 smash hit 28 Days Later.

Six months after the outbreak of a rage virus ripped through the U.K. and annihilated the British population, the crisis has been contained and the infection is believed eliminated. The U.S. Army steps in to supervise the reconstruction of London, and repopulation can begin.

Among the refugees returning to the safe zone are 12-year-old Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton, excellent) and his older sister Tammy (Imogen Poots), who were separated during the outbreak and are now reunited with their dad, played by Robert Carlyle. But the kids’ impatience and the longing for their missing mother soon leads to a perilous security breach, which causes the virus to reappear.

Unable to stop the reinfection, which converts people into flesh-eating zombies, the military executes Code Red and decides to kill everyone, without regard to the loss of innocent lives.

Extremely unsettling and suspenseful, 28 Weeks Later almost lives up to the splendor of its predecessor as it increases the dosage of gore and pulls its viewers into a state of continuous mayhem. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo directs with style and insists on the constant use of unsteady camerawork, which provokes an alarming state of panic and often makes it hard to distinguish between who or what is attacking who.

The film, however, does not exclusively serve the purpose of spurring solid scare after solid scare. The amount of blood splatter be praised, but 28 Weeks Later steps beyond the violence and delivers a shocking social comment. The image of armed forces choosing to shoot an entire populace as to eradicate a deadly virus is remarkably frightening. Parallels with the war in Iraq can be drawn at multiple times.

The script by Rowan Joffer and Fresnadillo occasionally flirts with flaws, and selected heroic actions can be questioned, but the filmmakers perfectly succeed in plunging their audience into an array of heart-pounding sequences.

Most of the film’s fast-paced action takes place in complete darkness, which supplies the plot with a striking sense of claustrophobia that makes the experience of watching 28 Weeks Later in the theatre all the more thrilling and unforgettable.

Some zombie flicks engage in a diverse combination of satire, humor and gore, a formula that usually works fine if executed well enough. 28 Weeks Later aims a little higher, adding terrifying suspense that will haunt audience long after the film’s ingenious final shot gives way to the tranquil end credits.

Review by Franck Tabouring