28 Weeks Later

More often than not, sequels don’t live up to the expectations that their predecessors set. That, however, most certainly is not the case with 28 Weeks Later (Fox Atomic), which makes its amateurish 28 Days… counterpart look like an after-school special – albeit one with rage-infected, flesh-eating humans.

The film is set approximately six months after mainland Britain has been destroyed by a zombie-like virus, and US-led NATO forces have allowed some surviving residents to return to the country and stay in a secure sector. Naturally, events don’t quite turn out as planned – it doesn’t take long for an infectious return to chaos.

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does a marvelous job of developing characters and creating frenetic, gruesome action sequences. Everything from his usage of lighting to his incorporation of the score is head and shoulders above the first film, in which director Danny Boyle (an executive producer of the sequel) routinely put dialogue and music in conflict with each other.

Fresnadillo also establishes a subtle parallel to the US invasion of Iraq during a scene in which soldiers can’t tell the infected from ordinary civilians. Thankfully, the reference isn’t too blatant and doesn’t particularly carry political overtones, although the NATO containment policy isn’t the most compassionate.

The film ends nearly as abruptly as the 2002 installment, and fans will be happy to know that it lays the foundation for a third version, which presumably would be titled 28 Months Later. Hollywood doesn’t exactly shy away from action-packed sequels, and in a summer that doesn’t lack them, 28 Weeks Later could turn out to be the finest of the bunch.

– Scott Morrow

28 Weeks Later
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
99 minutes, Fox Atomic
Opened nationwide on 5/11/07