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28 Weeks Later (2)

Alarm bells were sounding off in my head when I first saw this film being mentioned. The film doesn't have the original director - sure, he was busy with Sunshine, but was that design or accident? Then, none of the original cast were involved. That either hinted at the film having a totally different story-line, or it being such a stinker that none of the original cast would touch it. Then, there's the fact that by it's very existence, it's a sequel. We've hardly been blessed with good sequels, have we? I mean, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is coming, along with Die Hard 4.0 (Really, really dead this time), Spider Man 3 and the sixth part in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, things are hardly rosy.

Ok, I might have exaggerated about the Lord of the Rings thing, but history has shown us that sequels usually stink.

Before I continue with the review, I should explain that the rest of this review will mean nothing if you've not watched the original 28 Days Later. If you haven't, please read the advice below.

WATCH IT.

Thank you.

28 Weeks Later starts with answering a couple of questions that came out of the original, such as "Why didn't people just hide and wait for things to blow over?". The answer is graphically shown in the first ten minutes with Robert Carlisle, hiding in a house with family and friends. As you can imagine, they're not hiding for long. Gore is aplenty.

The film then skips forwards in time - about six months after the original infection took place. It's assumed that the infected have now starved to death and Britain is now ready for people to return. The US (gawd bless 'em), along with the United Nations, have sent in a highly armed military contingent to clear the United Kingdom of it's dead and define a safe area so that the handful of British that are left (the film makes a reference to about 15,000 survivors from the original 60 million) can return home. "Home" in the meantime is the Isle of Dogs, London, set up with a working transport system, housing area, water and power network. All is starting to look rosy again. The Americans spend their time lurking around with big guns, for everyone's protection.

Carlisle, as you might have guessed, returns to London with his family (minus his wife) - it would have been a short film if he were wiped out in the first scene. He attempts to start some sort of normal life and this is where things go wrong - as infection rears it's ugly head again.

This is as much as you need to know. If I told you more, it would ruin it. In fact, I think the trailer probably gives away more than it should. Without turning into a huge spoiler, you start to wonder who is more barbaric - those infected by the virus or the occupying Americans. At least those infected do not have rational thought.

Yet again, the cinematography is amazing. The cut scenes of a desolate and abandoned London really hit home, with so many districts of London looking eerily familiar. It struck a chord with me - after one of my previous postings, you can understand why. When the pace hots up the camera is chaotic, but it works, accurately simulating the panic of those fleeing the terror. It's impressive stuff.

People have compared the content of this film to being an occupying American force in Iraq. Maybe, maybe not. I'm not so sure. I think the director was trying to hint that you can't contain or control the uncontainable - like the virus. The more you try, the bigger the consequences. Yet again, there is a story. Admittedly this time it's a bit more adrenaline filled, but it's there. The gore and violence is on a new level, but it seems to be there for a reason - is it trying to convey that violence really isn't cool? Who knows?

As you might have gathered from all this, I'm pleasantly surprised. Sure, it's not as good as the original, but that would have been a tough act to follow. I'd recommend it nonetheless. The film also keeps to a few other rules - special effects are only used when absolutely necessary (and they are used to amazing effect) and the film is kept to ninety minutes. At times I jumped and was on the edge of my seat, but my rear didn't go numb. Despite all my previous murmuring on the matter, I'm glad I saw it. A happy film it isn't, but an enjoyable zombie-esque-fest it is. My only criticism is that that last two minutes might have laid down the groundwork for another sequel.

Watch it, but don't be surprised it there's a 28 Months Later.
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