Friday, October 17, 2008


This review is going to be easier to write than I expected, as my feelings toward 28 WEEKS LATER--director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 2007 follow-up to 28 DAYS LATER--are exactly like the first: a well-made movie that left me cold.

Credit belongs to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland for remaining as executive producers and ensuring not only a sense of continuity, but integrity as well; so often once a major horror film makes money it's quickly franchised and morphed into a clone factory (or what the suits like to call "a guaranteed revenue stream"), but WEEKS wisely avoids that trap. Watching the story unfold, I was often reminded of superhero series, and how they can fully develop once the origin story's out of the way. It's not entirely an apt comparison, but Fresnadillo and his screenwriters explore an area we don't really get to see: the emotional toil and societal rebuilding after the virus has been contained.

Much like DAYS, WEEKS has an incredible opening (though I can't express enough how much I hate, hate, hate the use of shaky, hand-held camerawork and rapid-fire editing that makes the action incomprehensible--yet it's interesting to note how it can "graphically" show something without making it clear what's happening) and a greater dramatic resonance, even if it's exhausted early. It's technically amazing, too, with great photography, etc.

However, WEEKS has a somewhat longer build-up than is really necessary, and its lackluster midsection doesn't quite make up for it. Once the virus is reawakened--in a bravura moment, by the way--is quickly falls into the same formulaic storyline, hewing closely to the established when it ought to be cutting its own swath. Fresnadillo creates several potentially intriguing set-pieces, but often undermines them with poor CGI (such as the mass-decapitation by helicopter, featuring fx that have no business in a mainstream motion pciture) or timing (the night-vision stadium sequence, which grows tedious rather than suspenseful). And while it has a more character-driven plot at its heart, its story arc doesn't quite support the overall film, throwing off the emotional momentum of key moments.

Although 28 WEEKS LATER ends on a more downbeat note than its predecessor, I doubt I'll make time for any additional sequels. Although I'm sure it'd be an extremely well-made movie.

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