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28 WEEKS LATER ...

SYNOPSIS:
Six months after the rage virus has annihilated mainland Britain, the US Army declares it safe to begin reconstruction of the country. Among the first of the refugees returning to a deserted and demarcated London, are Don (Robert Carlyle) - reunited with his young son Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and daughter Tammy (Imogen Poots). Don had barely escaped with his life when the infected attacked their hiding place, and he had to leave his wife Alice (Catherine McCormack) to the marauding murderers. But the relative calm is shattered when the rage virus again manifests itself - via the most surprising carrier, whose blood may contain a natural antidote, as Chief Medical Officer Scarlet (Rose Byrne) discovers. The Army invokes Code Red, the ultimate solution, and the children's lives are again at great risk.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A bloody and ugly mutation of 28 Days Later, this film is a gross error of judgement for all concerned, from the predictably repetitive plot resting on the freaky premise of its progenitor to the anti-cinematic whiz-blur-cam that passes for cinematography to the nihilistic execution (literally). Hundreds if not thousands of bodies are sacrificed in an orgy of blood letting that really by-passes the genre essentials and go(r)es straight into the old video nasty bucket. What a sordid little surprise from the Danny Boyles (originator of the premise and here as Exec Prod) and Juan Carlos Fresnadillos (director) of this world.

A blistering, faux heavy metal soundtrack works like a wall of sound, meshed with the found sound of the action, to obliterate any possibility of escape from the ambiance of a London made even more hideously sombre than it is in reality.

Performances are largely hidden behind prosthetics and blood or effects, except for the two children who manage to maintain their dignity while all about them the adults are losing theirs. But that's about all one can say for them. Danny Boyle gives a gargoyle performance once infected, managing to pop up in the vicinity of his escaping kids whenever the plot needs a burst of blood.

The infected masses are never seen for more than a nanosecond and usually in a whirr of hand held camera movement, so it is ironic to read in the production notes how much effort went into training them. I don't think I can recommend 28 Weeks Later to anyone, not even genuine horror fans.

Review by Louise Keller:
Full blown horror is the tone that director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo brings to 28 Weeks Later, a sequel with more blood and terror than the original. I jumped out of my seat several times in this blatantly scary film in which hand held cameras and ultra loud music jars against our comfort zones. Fresndadillo takes the premise one step further with the inclusion of a family divided by the horrors of the virus, with the existence of a form of immunity. I must admit this is not my preferred genre, but for those who get their thrills as armchair travellers and whose destination is the world of horror-plus, 28 Weeks Later will impress some. For me, the jumpy nature of the hand-held camera irritated constantly and it bothered me that for much of the time we have no idea what is actually happening.

In the opening sequence, there is nothing more haunting than the face of Catherine McCormack's anguished Alice as she thrusts herself against the window as her husband Don (Robert Carlyle) makes her escape. Don's act of cowardice and subsequent lies to his children Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imogen Poots) less than endears us to him, making his inevitable fate easier to bear. As reconstruction of London begins, we meet Rose Byrne's Scarlet, the army's Chief Medical Officer and a major to boot. (Why do script writers give pretty young things like Byrne roles which cry for someone with considerably more experience and age?) Byrne is competent, mind you, as is Jeremy Renner's heroic Sgt Doyle and the children whose immunity makes them valuable.

There is no shortage of blood as everyone is a target as pandemonium and chaos sets in when Code Red is called and the visual effects are considerable. The recurring presence of Carlyle's infected Don is a horrific sight to behold and Fresnadillo effectively captures the claustrophobia as the crowds infect each other with panic and pandemonium. This is a competently made genre film, although I must admit I believe Fresnadillo's talents could be used for better things.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

28 WEEKS LATER ... (MA)
(UK, 2007)

CAST: Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Catherine McCormack, Mackintosh Muggleton, Imogen Poots, Idris Elba

PRODUCER: E. L. Lavigne, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich

DIRECTOR: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

SCRIPT: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Rowan Joffe, Jesus Olmo

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Enrique Chediak

EDITOR: Chris Gill

MUSIC: John Murphy

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mark Tildesley

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 10, 2007







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