28 Weeks Later
Paul Cook 30/05/2007
After a phenomenally successful start with 28 Days Later, '28 Weeks' tells the story, as the name suggests so subtly, the story 28 weeks after the first film. Unforgivingly gory and violent the action is mercilessly pursued by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's uncensored, hand-held style giving the film a genuine shock-factor as you feel engrossed and involved entirely with the film.
Aside from a slight loss of personality and character-driven style the low-budget feel which made the first film so horrific to endure still remains. 28 Weeks Later has lost none of its ability to produce classic horror shocks and the on-location ethic employed by Fresnadillo creates startling realism and mesmerising deserted London sequences unseen anywhere else in British cinema.
The true success of this film doesn't come with box-office takings but the simple fact that such a stunningly visceral experience and at times scarily real piece of film was made on a low-budget with special effects playing little part in the visual grandeur of the sequel. Fresnadillo has taken what was a surprisingly successful British horror flick and turned it into an international smash whilst changing very little in terms of style and content.
The performances in the film are far from Oscar-nomination material. This is largely due to the fact that 70% of the cast including the highest profile actor, Robert Carlisle isn't technically human for the most part. The flesh eating scenes in some places are hard to watch particularly as Carlisle's character of Don gauges his wife's eyes out in rage.
Harking back to a George Romero viscerally violent style and a traditionally British pessimism, 28 Weeks Later is nothing short of a superb horror film. Where it loses its personal level and character driven genuineness from the original it replaces it with big guns and big budget effects. We have seen all too clearly with 'Spidey 3' bigger isn't always better but here, for some, it may just be. Many will prefer the first purely for its traditionally British aesthetic of low-budget, realism but 28 Weeks Later is a more than credible sequel with as much realism and horror as the first with just that slight Hollywood feeling.