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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
28 Weeks Later has to be the most disappointing sequel I've ever seen.
This review will contain spoilers, however, it's nothing that the
filmmakers themselves haven't spoiled to start with. Let's start with
the most fundamental element of film-making: camera work. 28 Weeks
Later is one of those pretentious films with the epileptic, hand-held
camera that seems so popular with filmmakers who have nothing to
actually say or show in their films. There are precious few scenes
where the camera isn't both hand-held and in constant frenetic motion.
It brings nothing to the film, creates no tension, and brings nothing
new to the art of film-making. There are lengthy scenes that compound
the camera work problem by also being filmed in simulated night vision.
For those of you with a propensity to headaches or vision problems,
this alone makes 28 Weeks Later a film to avoid.
On to the story. This is, sadly, one of those films where stupid people do stupid things as the only means the filmmakers could think of to advance a pointless story. **spoilers start** These two kids have just arrived in the "secure zone" and yet are able to sneak out, past heavily armed guards, pas various security measures, and run off into an area they have been repeatedly told is not safe. Armed guards surround the city. Soldiers are everywhere. Everyone has a machine-gun, a pistol, night vision goggles and yet, the discovery of an infected person, brought into the "secure zone", and absolutely NO precautions are taken? There are no extra guards; there are no extra security measures. To make matters even more "logical", it seems that all the soldiers in the area where this infected person is being kept are all either idiots, unarmed, or conscientious objectors. There is not one useful weapon to be found when it would be most useful. A soldier with a helicopter wants to rescue his buddy, yet the only thing he can think to do is have them crawl throughout the city to a distant spot to pick them up? Are there absolutely NO areas closer? This is just a completely useless gimmick to have the heroes of the story trek across town. I could go on listing plot holes large enough to float the entire U.K through, but I trust my warning will be enough to ward off those who are on the fence about seeing this film or not. Somehow, the kids' father has survived all the way through these events, despite all logic. Like the lone zombie in Day of the Dead who has learned to use a gun and appears to have regained some of his sentience, here we have an infected who defies all logic, including the internal logic of 28 Days Later, to follow his children and pop up at convenient moments for cheap scares and bad melodramatic moments. The filmmakers have created situations that defy logic and normalcy to advance a completely pointless story. Characters perform actions that defy logic. Events happen that defy logic. There is blood everywhere, yet no one seems worried about infection. And I can assure you, if blood is what you feel like seeing, this movie's carnage is on the heavy side. I'm not squeamish, and I actually enjoy a good gory film every once in a while. The problem with 28 Weeks Later is not the gore. It's the pointlessness of it all.
I've seen some really bad films in my day. I've actually enjoyed some of those bad films. The problem with 28 Weeks Later is that it WANTS to be a great film. It WANTS to be a big budget gore-fest. With completely unsympathetic characters, it fails to create any bond with the audience. Even if the epileptic camera work gave us an instant of respite to actually relate to those characters. We are kept at a distance by terrible plot devices, terrible character development, and completely silly events.
Having seen 28 Days Later I thought I was prepared for this, but I was
not. Somewhere near the beginning of the film is a scene that goes from
zero to psycho in about 2 seconds flat. The beginning of 2004's Dawn of
the Dead also had a wildly chaotic kick-off scene, but unlike that
film, which was a great film to laugh through while chomping your
popcorn, this film is no laughing matter.
When there's no violence, there's fear and tension.
When there is on-screen violence, there is absolute shock and horror. Scene after scene shows ordinary people placed in impossible situations from which they cannot escape. This time, of course, there now two implacable predators out there hunting them down: the rage virus from the first film, and the military which is attempting to maintain control of any outbreak, but is willing to visit unspeakable horrors upon innocent people if they cannot keep that control. The horror and scale of the virus is so severe, that the plans the military implements are completely plausible.
The actions scenes are masterfully done, effectively placing the viewer in the points of view of both the victims and the crazed, but still scarily human, zombies. The portrayal of the violence pulls no punches; people of all age groups and walks of life are destroyed without remorse. No attempt is made to soft-pedal it. The fragility of human life on Earth and its vulnerability to just the right nasty virus are thoughts that stay with you after you've left the theater, and add a nice "after taste" of fear. The soundtrack, as with the first film, is amazing in conveying the tension and dread and sadness of the scenes. The story is fairly tight, as well. My only complaints might be with the acting of some of the soldiers, which just didn't feel authentic to me for some reason.
Overall I'd say this is one of the best zombie films I've ever seen, in fact, one of the most effective thrillers I've seen, as well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really enjoyed the first film. The characters were real, they made
understandable decisions in stressful situations. It was a fresh take
on a very cliché genera; zombie films.
The second film, unfortunately, has none of that. Unrealistic characters making the same irrational, unintelligent choices that people in terrible slasher films make. Maybe taken on its own it would not have been that bad, but it has a much stronger film to live up to so it amplifies all of the weaknesses.
I am sorry if I am giving some things away so stop reading now if you have not seen the film and want to "try" and be surprised. I say try because there was nothing, absolutely nothing, unpredictable about this film.
The thing I found most absurd was that after only four months of failing to find an infected person, they already want to try to repopulate the island. Preposterous!!!! The greatest plague in the history of world and they are going back all cavalier? No. It would take years, maybe even decades before any re-population attempt would be made, and even then it would be a military only operation composed of troops and scientists. There would have to be global wide panels of experts and diplomats involved as the entire world would stand to be infected if something went wrong. Anthrax can live in moist soil for years so why not the rage virus? Maybe if the title was 28 months later, or more realistic, 28 years later.
And then again, who would want to come back? There would have to be fantastic incentives to get people to move back. Such as no taxes for life, free property, hereditary titles, etc. But the filmmakers make no effort to explain why the people who moved back were motivated to do so.
Then there is Robert Carlisle's character who is ultimately the person responsible for the re-emergence of the virus. He accomplished this because he has a magnetic pass key that gives him unfettered access to the entire complex, even top secret areas. He walks into a quarantine room of an individual, who turns out to be his wife, that is a carrier of the rage virus but is asymptomatic. He supposedly is some sort of civilian contractor or maintenance worker in the facility, but that wouldn't give him unrestricted access, he isn't even military. Come on!!! Then when the virus finally breaks back out (Too far into the movie to allow for much action in a 90 minute flick) the emergency protocols are so amateurish to be laughable. It is obvious right away that they have never given any or the re-patriots emergency drills because as they are being shuffled into quarantine chambers, they are all confused as to what is happening. You have to go through emergency drills your first day on a cruise ship and they are telling us that after repopulating Brittan after the most deadly plague of mankind, they are not even going to do some drills???? So when this inevitably fails (the zombies break into the quarantine zones, of course) in the ensuing panic, the soldiers cannot tell who is infected and who isn't. After not too much time, the general gives the order to shoot everyone just to be sure. Again, I was sitting in my seat fuming, all they would have had to broadcast on the PA was "Put up your right hand if you are not infected." Presumably zombies don't follow directions. But no, the soldiers start shooting everyone. I wonder if a Nuremburg defense would work in this instance? And of all the other soldiers shooting civilians, only one has moral qualms. Pathetic.
From here, the movie devolves into the typical horror film. The surviving characters of the initial carnage band together and are slowly picked off by circumstance and the results of terrible decision making (Should I go into the Tube where it is dark and has no lights, or should I stay above ground where I can see where I am going?) Oh, and while in the tube, they navigate with a lone night vision scope on an assault rifle that the character doesn't point at the way ahead, but instead at the surviving characters heads, did she forget that the scope is attached to a gun? Who points a gun at peoples heads they are not intending to shoot. BTW this is the same character who earlier in the film corrected the word usage of a person and then made the same mistake herself. (What kind of writer didn't pick that up???) Oh, and Robert Carlisle just happens to appear in nearly every scene even though he is only supposed to be a zombie. It got really irritating to keep seeing him pop up all the time. Was someone directing his location????? Again, no explanation of why this particular zombie was so adept at finding the few survivors.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film sucks. The director used only one shooting style. Shaky-cam.
If the director somehow ends up reading this review. Shaky cam shooting does not equal good, unique, or even an innovative shooting style. It's used by people who need to cover up their lack of a story with a confusing and erratic camera movements.
Seriously, even the still camera shots and the pans looked as if the camera man was a retard who suffered from chronic epileptic seizures.
Everything was shaky cam. The friggin credits were shaky cam for Christ's sake.
Shaky cam should ONLY be used for documentaries(Grizzly Man), or reality TV shows, like COPS.
Now, camera work aside, lets actually get into the story.
With 28 Days Later we were presented with a unique take on zombie films. With 28 Weeks Later, we were presented with complete destruction of that unique take. They took a good story and turned it into your stereotypical zombie film.
Not to mention, there were plot holes galore. Seriously, the plot holes were such in number, that the plot holes had plot holes.
The story was so damned terrible. Small boy(who I swear on my life I thought was a girl from all the previews, and even looks like Hermoine(Harry Potter) if she was a dude, anyway, small boy shows up in England, and he has two different colored eyes, which he inherited from his mom, and is very "unique." Foreshadowing! Anyway, turns out the mom, who turns out to be infected as seen in the first 5 minutes of this god awful film, isn't actually infected. She had the virus but has a natural immunity. So shes a carrier for the virus, as her saliva can still pass it on.
So as anyone with 1/10th of a brain can figure out the entire friggin' plot of the film from here on out. Boy has mom's genes, boy has natural immunity, boy = possible cure for the Rage virus.
The dad goes and visits the mother who's in the medical facility, they make out, and thus he becomes a zombie and kills the mom.
He not only becomes a zombie, but he's also a magical super zombie. Not only can he magically bypass a locked door, but he also shows up wherever the kid goes. He is like Jason, no matter how far you run away, drive away, fly away. He'll end up right where you are, in front of you none the less.
Like I said, plot holes galore. There were so many plot holes, combined with the shaky cam, I had no idea what was going on during the film 90% of the time. Zombies magically appear on rooftops where snipers are and end up killing the zombies, even though they're on buildings with like 30 stories.
A population of 15,000 people can fit into a tiny room, but then fill a field with zombies.
The zombies are apparently so bad ass they can escape a firebombed district of London, breaking out of the zone, after the place was firebombed to hell and back.
Not to mention, like I said before, the dad combined with shaky came = super zombie. He is fire proof, biological weapon proof, he can even easily kill soldiers who are highly trained in the blink of an eye, like he was Jack Carver from Farcry.
This movie really is terrible. If anything, it would have been worth renting, and not paying $8 to see in theaters.
When I first heard there was to be a sequel to Danny Boyle's excellent
28 Days Later and that Boyle himself would not be directing it, I was
less than excited.
Then the reviews began flooding in and I was surprised, shocked even, that the majority of them were positive.
It was then after the well respected film critic Mark Kermode said it was "very good" and "better than we had any right to expect" that I began to raise my expectations.
Im happy to report that they were exceeded by a sequel that surpasses the original in terms of tension and spectacle.
Boyle remained on board with the project, albeit as a producer, but also directed some second unit footage and never allows it to veer away from the look or feel of his original.
Not that he had cause to worry as the new director,Juan Carlos Fresnadillo obviously understood Boyle's vision and expands on it without getting too carried away.
The result is a faster paced, less reflective film, containing a very intelligent political subtext and some fantastic action set pieces that (and this is the most important part) delivers a large number of quality scares.
It also dwarfs 28 days later in terms of gore, meaning true horror fans have much more in the way of visceral glee to sink their teeth into (pun intended).
Bring on 28 months later...
...Not this time.
I believe 28 Weeks Later did appreciate as a sequel (with only a couple very minor depreciative concepts), and that was a surprise.
I'm admittedly a zombie film fan (especially the serious, non A-Team variety). And although the Rage virus in these two films does not produce an 'undead' zombie, the 'infected' nevertheless present a similarly formidable and threatening antagonist. If you haven't seen either film, Boyle's 'infected' are far less like the traditional lumbering Romero zombies, and closer to the Zack Snyder zombies of 2004's Dawn of the Dead. Note that if you were able to get away with seeing 28 Days Later as a date movie, you may not pull it off with 28 Weeks. There is very little breathing room, and some of it is more disturbing and far less bridled than you might be expecting, especially if you are used to the character-based 'safety' of most films.
Unlike 28 Days, a flashpan start to 28 Weeks Later sets the tone for the entire film... Which although short in running time (at just over 1:30) with quite a fast pace, still seemed very much long enough to be perfectly enjoyable, especially for any fan of the genre. Other than a brief, but informative back-story conversation near the beginning, there is almost no down time spent (wasted?) on emerging relationships or overly granular side-stories. Overall the most powerful element of the film isn't really character based, but rather the theme of a terrible pandemic that, besides a small twist, isn't much changed from the first movie.
There is one facet of the film that I did not really appreciate, but can't really detail without a spoiler warning. Let's just say that London is a fairly large playground for certain (coincidental?) events to happen (and not just once). However, there's a possibility I may be missing some concept that made these events intentional--I hope it's some twist of the virus and isn't just star power.
I'll be purchasing the DVD, but probably won't offer to watch it with any of my family and couldn't recommend it as a party movie :)
Post Script: If you had ever wondered why the rest of the world was not affected by this virus, consider the geographically isolating nature of the British Isles and the extremely short incubation period of this virus. A truly viable pandemic must have a longer incubation period and optimally be airborne or at least infect multiple disparate species. So the Rage virus, while perfectly suited in close quarters would likely not travel much farther than a pair of human legs could travel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
28 Days Later was one of the smartest "horror" films I had ever seen
when it came out, but its sequel pales in comparison. Someone has
paralleled the comparison between Alien and Aliens, but I think it's
even worse than that. This film will definitely find its audience, much
like Aliens did. But whereas Alien and 28 Days Later are scary yet
smart, Aliens and 28 Weeks Later are given the Hollywood face-lift with
the help of lots of machine guns and overacting. Oh, and a worthless
To be fair, the opening sequence of the film truly had me squirming in my seat and I feared the worst for my sleep that night. One of the most terrifying aspects of the original film was the idea of escaping to the countryside and boarding up for safety, only to eventually be helplessly attacked by the roaming infected. Therefore, anyone who has seen the original will quickly deduce what is about to happen as soon as the young boy knocks on the door seeking shelter. Things are looking good by the end of the first sequence; a reasonable plot conflict has been developed and the director has scared the viewer just enough to remind them that yes, this is a horror film. After this, it all goes downhill.
The American presence in the film is not my beef with it, despite my subject line. At first it seems anti-U.S. in the way it portrays military occupation, but Sgt. Doyle's character, stereotypical though his name may be, serves as a counter to this. The soldiers are doing the best they can, and their decision to go to "code red" and kill everyone rather than just the infected is not out of the question. If anything, the "safe zone" created by the U.S. presence is entirely implausible, much like the fact that Robert Carlyle's character has full access to all of it as a civilian employee. Given the nature of the virus, one would think that maximum (and I mean MAXIMUM) security would be priority number one. And this is exactly where the film fails: completely implausible events are used to push a weak plot forward. After Carlyle's character has been infected by the wife he thought he left for dead, you can officially start laughing instead of wincing. I wish I had been in the laugh-friendly comfort of home rather than a theater, because my friends and I would have had a field day with the latter half of this movie. At one point, Carlyle's zombie is seen looking at a picture of his family while growling and gnashing his teeth like the rest of his zombie brethren. Are we to believe that certain zombies whom once had families are able to put aside their unquenchable blood lust for some sentimental memories via pictures of home? I had to fight the urge to do my best Don LaFontaine impression during that scene. Simply terrible, trite film-making. Also, since it was a U.S.-produced horror film, you can expect characters to do really stupid things while your brain begs for mercy. Once a lull in action comes along, someone investigates a rapidly banging door or initiates any one of a number of cheap scare clichés to keep the sheep filling their gullets with popcorn. Don's (Carlyle) son is the token innocent but stupid kid of the film who initiates most of said clichés, while his daughter is the token looker without a brain who overacts every line she is fed. The only truly rewarding scene for me was the helicopter massacre, and that is a disgrace considering how intelligent the first film was.
Technically, the film looks and feels extremely rushed, especially in the cinematography. Attack sequences (and otherwise) are spliced with mindless hand-held camera-shaking, adding a dose of nausea to an already visually jarring film. I'm not against hand-held camera work, but I think a more direct and effective film might have been produced had it not looked like the director let his kids play around with the camera. The film looks acceptable when it's not dizzying, but it's nothing worth noting. The soundtrack is almost exactly the same as the first, minus the Eno track.
Basically, if you're looking for a mindless gore-fest, this is your ticket. If you're a fan of how scary the original film was on a much deeper, darker, and smarter level, this is not your ticket. I was extremely disappointed with this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILER _ _SPOILER _ _ SPOILER I am surprised to see so many positive
reviews for 28 weeks later, as in my opinion it bares little comparison
to its excellent predecessor.
It is not completely without merit, the film does succeed is in recreating the style and feel of the first film. The best elements of the cinematography, camera work and score from 28 Days are again present here.
Unfortunately what are lacking are a cohesive plot, plausible characterisation and quality acting.
Most annoying of all is Robert Carlisle's zombie, he really should have had the words 'plot device' tattooed on his forehead.
Until half way through the second film we had been led to believe that all those infected with the virus become mindless psychos only intent on murdering the nearest person to them.
However luckily for us and the film, Carlisle's zombie has the dubious ability to teleport himself directly into the any scene as and where the plot dictates. This is the kind of focus group thinking that ruins the majority of US made films and I am disappointed to see this here.
Bringing me on to the acting. Imogen Poots as Tammy was particularly weak. Luckily her character manages to maintain an indestructible layer of eye liner during the film, thank god, I really wouldn't have been able to believe her performance otherwise.
I imagine this film will be well received in the US as its contrived plot and tenuous happenstance will be forgiven in the face of its increased action and gore.
Overall it's a very poor effort.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The movie begins in the dead center of the original outbreak of the
epidemic in England. We are introduced to a handful of people hiding
out from the rage-infected including Robert Carlyle's character and his
wife. After a short time, the house is attacked and most of the group
killed by the zombie-like masses. The husband and wife are separated
and he flees to water, barely escaping with his life.
Here is my first of many complaints of this film. The separation of the couple is used as a cheap emotional ploy to discredit Carlyle. Standing across the room from his wife, whom he had desperately been pleading that she flee with him, he is outnumbered by rage-infected and weaponless. He makes the only choice he possibly can as a realistic character and takes the way out which is available to him. Only the invincible action-hero archetype could be expected any other course of action.
The opening scene itself is the high-point of the film. From here we jump to what the title promises as months later. NATO, led by, guess who.. the US, moves in to begin re-population of the country. Unfortunately the country is still littered with bodies of victims and is, in general, exceptionally unsafe. Still out military decides to set up a "safe zone" (glaringly pointing to our Iraq "green zone" folly), right outside of the city with ridiculously lousy security. Carlyle's 2 children, who had been in Spain during the outbreak, return home and are reunited with their father. In a hopelessly coincidental turn of events, Carlyle just happens to have complete access to everything about the compound.
Their first day back in Mother England, these 2 young characters easily escape the compound even though they are spotted by the military, and return home to get "some stuff". Even viewing the desolation first hand and discovering a decomposed corpse isn't enough to open these morons' eyes to the horror of events and stop them from trotting home for some clothes and misc. riff-raff.
Upon returning home, the children discover that their mother some how (which is never revealed) survived the attack and has been living in the house for the past few months. The military finally arrive and take the children and their mother back to the "green zone".
The mother, who is a carrier of the disease but shows no symptoms due to a genetic abnormality, is a precious commodity as she may contain the secrets to a cure. So since she is so very special, the military straps her to a table and leaves her by herself and unguarded in an area her husband can conveniently access. How we are supposed to believe the military would give SUCH complete access to a civilian is beyond me. The children, who are in trouble for sneaking out, are given a guard. I guess they didn't have another to spare for the woman that might save humanity.
Predictably, the mother infects Carlyle who flies into the usual "rage", kills her, and escapes into the compound starting the infection all over again.
The compound is insanely unprepared for this event and attempts to "lock down" civilians in a room with a back door...
Panic and mayhem ensue as the infection begins to spread and the military begins its indiscriminate slaughter of the citizens. Another thumb of the nose to military.
From here the film just spirals into your basic "zombie chase" movie losing red-shirts left and right. We are introduced to, then lose, a few characters, giving us no richness of character along the way. Carlyle occasionally pops up in the vain of a long-haired Japanese ghost. There is no logical reason for his appearances, but at this point, the movie is no longer at home to Mr. Logic.
Ultimately, we are given the beyond predictable "twist" setting up the inevitable 28 Months Later. Between the illogical plot and idiotic characters, the director burns vast amounts of film on sweeping shots of the abandoned countryside and close-up views of the characters faces as they "react".. or fail to react, to the horror around them.
Having hailed 28 Days Later as possibly my favorite modern horror film, I was disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm open to believe the U.S. Army is stupid- but THAT stupid? How do 2
kids get out of the "safe" zone and manage to steal a moped, ride
through London, hang out at their house, and meet their mother before
the Army can catch up with them? The purpose of putting the safe zone
on an island in London was for containment (I assume) and yet, the
survivors AND the zombies are able to walk across a bridge to get off
the island AFTER it's been fire bombed? I am able to guess the mother's
genetic eye-color trait is linked to the genetic anomaly that makes her
and her kid immune- how does the idiot doctor not figure it out? Is the
medical director really so stupid as to not guess these kids could be
current hosts- is she really so stupid as to whisk the two kids away
without checking their blood- and wouldn't doing a full work up on both
kids be required when they were first caught? Is she so stupid as to
risk her life to get these two kids out of Britain who can be carriers,
like their mother was a carrier? And really... the father's reaction
when he finds out his wife is alive... this is a man who should have
severe PTSD (the entire survival population should have PTSD)... and he
saw his entire nation succumb to this virus and yet he is ready to
believe that his wife comes out of an attack unscathed? And then he
sneaks through security to see her???!! Really??! And again back to the
stupid U.S. Army-- you'd think security in that place would have been
better...I get that he had "all access" pass, I just think the Army
would have guards around too.
Come on... the movie was so stupid upon stupid. Sorry to all the fans, I really liked the first one.
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