Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rewind--28 Weeks Later...

or: Days turn into weeks...for no apparent reason.


One word to sum it up: Gory.

I wouldn't have watched 28 Weeks Later..., the sequel to 28 Days Later..., had it not been on TV one night. I mean, the first didn't exactly demand a sequel, and seeing that it was directed by someone other than Danny Boyle kinda put me off a bit. Horror sequels, in my mind, barely ever work because they go for the whole 'let's be bigger and better than the first' aspect instead of actually worrying about viewers tastes. While 28 Weeks Later... doesn't try too hard to be better than the first (because it's damn near impossible to try and emulate what 28 Days Later... achieved), it still can't capture what made 28 Days Later... great and uses excessive gore as a replacement.

In the country nearby London, Don (Robert Carlyle), his wife Alice (Catherine McCormack) and a few survivors live hidden in a farmhouse. When infected people break in the house, Dan panics and does not help his wife to escape, running away and leaving Alice trapped inside the room. Twenty eight weeks after the outbreak that annihilated the population of Great Britain, London is considered safe and the British survivors return under the coordination of the American Army, that keeps the city under permanent surveillance. The teenager Tammy (Imogen Poots) and her younger brother Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) travel back from Spain to live with their father Don in London. They miss their mother and decide to escape to their old house to retrieve pictures and some other personal belongings. However, they find Alice surprisingly alive and the Army brings her to the base. After some blood test, the biologist Scarlet (Rose Byrne) discovers that Alice is a carrier of the lethal virus and somehow has immunity to it...

The problem with 28 Weeks Later... is that it focuses way too much on being a gory zombie horror than a fight-to-survive humanist horror like the original. Don't get me wrong, it is a fine sequel. But sometimes, like most sequels do, it left me wondering why they made a second installment in the first place. 28 Weeks Later... does a good job of capturing London reconstructing itself after the outbreak, and plunges the viewer into a labyrinth of safety-that-isn't-all-that-safe. It makes itself become a survival guide for if these events actually really happened, and I'd imagine if they were make packs on outbreak survival, this movie should be right in there.

Sometimes it feels scary and original, continuing on with the real looking zombies and thrilling zombie/human chase scenes. Other times, it feels like it's trying too hard to be the original. It kept playing 'In the house-In a heartbeat' during action sequences, which didn't feel right because that song was perfect for the climax in 28 Days Later... The direction is also trying to be like Danny Boyle's. Truth is, only Danny Boyle can do something so visionary. It is a solid sequel, and raises some questions about our future and what could happen, but lacks the humanism that made the first one so great.


THE VERDICT: A lock, stock and barrel horror which is both gory and cleverly scary, but of course, it isn't as good as the first. Danny Boyle could have made it better.

6/10

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