Ignoring the somber, slow pacing of the original 28 Days Later, this faster and energetic sequel hits every note on its way to success. While some will be turned off by the lack of deep rooted fear – the core of the original – 28 Weeks Later still maintains an authentic, eerily real feel for what is an overcharged zombie movie. Horror fans have every reason to be pleased.
Weeks focuses on the re-population of a country devastated by the raging virus of the first film. Scenes of the clean-up and discussion of possible containment plans in case of a second breakout are engrossing for their realism. A single family becomes the key to the film as, of course, the virus is once again released onto the population.
Using the family to propel the plot leads to a few forceful contrived moments later. Otherwise, the writing benefits the characters as they make every attempt to escape a nasty fate. They are met by a desperate military further complicating things as they make a run for survival.
Frantic camera work is initially a turn-off. When the action hits a breaking point, it works to turn away from unimportant character deaths. Those deaths, which are critical to the story, then come into a better focus when called for.
Weeks is unflinching in its gore factor. No one is safe, slaughtering elderly and children within the first 10 minutes. The body count is well above Days, and the action far more prevalent. However, the key character deaths still have an emotional pull even when the infected are relentlessly slaughtered by helicopter blades in a gore fanatic’s dream sequence.
For all of its crowd-rousing action, the script never allows the human drama to become lost. There is definitely a level of desperation and depression at every turn. Hardened horror fans will be hard pressed to find themselves enjoying this on a typical slasher movie level. This is a well-written showcase of human plight that eclipses the original. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
28 Weeks varies wildly in its video. Shot on numerous formats, the switch to a different style is always apparent. There’s a constant grain filter over the film, which is fine for atmosphere. Color and facial detail are beautiful early in the film during the reconstruction of the city. Later, including scenes such as a firebombing, the video is dull and murky to the point where it’s hard to even make out what’s going on. This looks to be a source issue, not hard to figure out given the variety of techniques used. The majority is in the sharp style of the early moments, making this a solid piece of transfer work. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Loud is the only way to describe the audio. This DTS HD mix is definitely mastered higher than your average disc, and your speakers will take a beating if you’re not careful. Bass is overpowering to the point of ridiculousness. While the rear speakers do pick up on the infected humans running and snarling from the front to the back, it’s subtle compared to what’s happening with the LFE and front channels. This would have been perfect if it was toned down a notch. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Extras are brought over from the DVD complete and intact. However, they’re mostly in HD here. Code Red: Making 28 Weeks Later begins the features with a nice 13-minute making-of segment that dives into other concepts for this sequel, and of course making the film. The Infected runs for seven minutes, focusing on the extras stuck inside make-up all day and their struggles.
Getting Into the Action looks at the major action set pieces and how they were shot. Two deleted scenes run a little over five minutes with an optional commentary. 28 Days Later: The Aftermath are two digital comics that fill in story gaps nicely. Finally, a dual commentary from director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and writer Enrique Lavigne discuss the film on multiple levels. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Extras]