Monday, May 21, 2007

28 Weeks Later Review

I have never walked out of a movie before, and I've seen some pretty bad flicks, but 28 Weeks Later just smacked of so much crap, I couldn't help but not get out of there. I'm also going to deviate from my standard major spoiler free review policy for this review, so if you do feel like throwing your money away on seeing this film, stop reading now.

28 Weeks Later actually starts off well. It begins during the original outbreak of infection in England and follows two parents (sorry, I couldn't be bothered to remember character names) who are hiding with other survivors on a farm house. You learn their kids are safe, having left the country prior to the outbreak on some kind of trip. The farm house is, of course, attacked by infected and only the husband survives, barely escaping after abandoning his wife and some misc. kid to die.

This entire sequence was done very well. There was tension, drama, and several good jumps, as well as a nice amount of gore. At this point, you can up and leave, 'cause the rest of the film is crap from here on.

Flash forward 28 weeks later. All the infected have starved to death, and the US sends over a military presence to begin the rebuilding process. They clean up and sterilize a part of one city, not sure which one (London, I guess), and start filtering survivors and residents who were out of the country at the time. Civilians are set up in this large high rise with decent rooms, or in camps of sorts (you don't see those), and a guarded sense of normality is slowly returning to the UK.

Apparently the husband survived, and is reunited with his kids, who are quite distraught with the apparent death of their mother. The kids are able to escape the safe "Green Zone" and flee to their old house to try and find a picture of mom to remember her by. Well they actually find mom herself. The military arrives, rescues the kids, and places mom in quarantine. Apparently she is infected, but cause she has one eye that's blue and one that's brown (as does her son), she's a carrier of the Rage virus but immune to it herself (makes perfect sense).

Now, the whole concept of the Rage virus, a virus that essentially turns people into living zombies in a matter of minutes of exposure to infected blood or saliva, is a stretch of a concept, however it was original enough and certainly shocking enough to work well in the first film. This whole immunity concept, however, was just too much.

Anyway, when the husband learns his wife is alive, he uses his all access card ('cause apparently civilian maintenance techs have access to secure military containment areas) to sneak in to see her. She forgives him for abandoning her, they kiss, and he contracts the Rage virus, killing her in an extremely disturbing scene.

Now, I'm all for gore in films, especially zombie-like films, but the level of gore here and what follows was disturbing even to me. I'm not going to go into detail, but suffice it to say I found it to be overkill.

The Rage virus starts spreading once more. Infected husband gets out, and the military, in its infinite wisdom, gathers and quarantines the entire civilian population in a large, warehouse like room, locking and sealing the door for the civies own protection. Apparently, however, the military forgot to secure the back door. Infected husband gets in through the back and all hell breaks loose. The soldiers scramble to start killing the Infected while sparring the civies, but are ultimately overwhelmed.

Another thing that really pissed me off with 28 Weeks Later is the sound scape. Now, being a horror film, the sound effects are loud for the purpose of scarring the audience, trying to make everyone jump, but just like the gore, I found the film did this in overkill and instead of freaking me out, it plain annoyed the hell out of me.

Finally tired of the hokey plot and overly loud snarls of the Infected, I walked out, went to a small convenience store, snagged a root beer, and explored the mall for about 30 minutes. I then came back and saw the final 5 minutes or so of the film (if there's a third installment, we're going to see French Infected. Le joy.), so I guess I did sit through over half of it. I asked my friend if I had missed anything, and aside from a sequence involving a helicopter used to decapitate a bunch of Infected, all I missed was shaky, hand held camera movements and excessive gore.

What crap.

28 Days Later had a cool concept, a twist on traditional zombie flicks that focused on the drama and tension with a band of survivors as they bonded in the face of despair. It wasn't a perfect film, but in many respects it worked. 28 Weeks Later, save for its beginning, has no plot, no drama, and just plain gore with little purpose.

Unless you're looking to see how not to make a film, or if you do want to see an excessive amount of needless gore, I can not in anyway recommend spending money to see 28 Weeks Later. If you really must see it for whatever reason, I recommend waiting for it to hit TMN or something, at least that way it won't cost you anything but time.

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