28 Weeks Later (2007)
Directed By: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Starring: Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton
Subgenre: Zombies, Survival
Danny Boyle’s smash hit in 2002 was just dying for a sequel, and talk of one started almost immediately. A few ideas floated around, including utilizing the cast of the first film in 29 Days Later, but as often happens when a film is successful, it took five years for the sequel to hit theatres. Instead of using Cillian Murphy and the rest of the survivors from 28 Days, Boyle decided to go with a new cast in 28 Weeks Later. He did manage to put together a pretty impressive cast with Jeremy Renner and Robert Carlyle. Boyle would not be directing the sequel either, although he was a producer and very involved in the preproduction decision making. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, a rather unknown director, was chosen to take the helm.
The movie starts off right in the middle of the Rage outbreak, as we meet Don, Alice and handful of other survivors that are hiding in a cottage, trying to live some semblance of life. Their dinner is interrupted but a frantic young boy banging on the door for help. Alice insists they let him in, even though Don doesn’t think it is wise. They let the boy in, who says he is being chased by the infected. Seconds later, they come crashing through the door, walls, and boarded up windows. The only one to escape is Don, who leaves his wife to save his own ass. At this point, I wasn’t a big fan of Don’s. Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of Don was great though.
We fast forward to 28 weeks later, and the virus is under control as the infected have all starved to death. A NATO/US force is clearing London little by little and refugees are starting to repopulate the area. We quickly find out that Don has survived and his children will soon be joining him back in London. The kids miss their mother and decide to go outside the safe zone to visit their old house to get some things, which is a brilliant idea. At the house they gather some pictures and things from their past life and make a shocking discovery. Their mother is alive and hiding in the house. The military soon shows up and brings the children and Mother back to the safe zone, where we find out that Alice actually has the virus but is not affected by it.
This is bad because Don decides to slip past security to see his wife, resulting in a long drawn out kiss, which obviously leads to Don contracting Rage, killing his wife and setting off another epidemic. Shit gets fast and furious here, as the infected are multiplying exponentially and the military is losing ground in a hurry. It’s now Jeremy Renner’s time to shine, as he is a sniper who ignores his orders to kill everyone and sets out to save the kids and the Chief Medical Officer, who believes that the kids may hold the key to the cure with their DNA.
After racing around London, avoiding infected, the military and raining firebombs from the Air Force, the kids get picked up by Renner’s buddy in a helicopter, taking them to safety in France. Of course the end of the movie shows infected racing around Paris 28 days later…
I really didn’t like this one much the first time around, but this was my second viewing and it was better than I remembered. It is actually a pretty decent flick, but has a different feel than the first, largely because of the military presence (machine guns, helicopters and air strikes). This is worth checking out, and worth revisiting if it has been awhile since watching it.