Welcome to the occupation: the zombie insurgency of 28 Weeks Later
In a dark house in the English countryside where all of the windows have been blocked, Don (Robert Carlyle) comforts his wife Alice (Catherine McCormack) about the safety of their children who have been quarantined off the British coast. Soon an older couple and a young woman arrive to eat with them, but then they hear a small boy knocking at the door and begging to be let in. Suddenly fearful, they reluctantly open the door for him. As he devours his share of noodles, he mentions how the infected have followed him. The wife goes to look out of peep hole at the farm land around them, but then a creature with red haggard eyes abruptly blocks the view, crashes in the window, and grabs her by the head. Before one even knows what is happening, most of the group have been attacked and bitten by zombies. Agonized, the husband has to abandon his wife and the child upstairs, and he runs across a field chased by a group of the creatures at top speeds as they zero in on him.
Welcome to the world of 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to Danny Boyle’s highly successful 28 Days Later (2002). Steeped in the traditions of apocalyptic zombie films like Omega Man and Day of the Dead, both films concern a rage virus that arbitrarily takes over
As implied by the title, 28 Weeks Later is set six months after the original outbreak. Most of the regular population has died off and the zombies have largely died of starvation, so a US-led NATO force has decided to begin repopulating the country by securing the Isle of Dogs on a peninsula of the East End of London as the “Green Zone,” and flying 15,000 civilians back in.
After the opening horror sequence in the British countryside, the film cuts to the point of view of Don’s children--a 12 year old kid named Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and his teenage sister Tammy (Imogen Poots) as they arrive in the Green Zone and try to adjust to the heavy surveillance, the checkpoints, the snipers who stand guard over them, and the soon-to-be-ironic announcements like the “US Army is responsible for your safety.” Andy and Tammy reunite with their father, who has difficulty explaining what happened to their mother back in the farmhouse at the beginning of the film. Then, almost whimsically, the two youngsters sneak out of the secure zone into the deserted
Needless to say, things start to go wrong with the American occupation. The generals maintain that there will be no new outbreak of the virus, so they have no good options when a zombie runs amuck again. The film asks the queasy question—would you like to be guarded by military snipers when a security zone becomes breeched? With cinematography that suggests documentary realism, 28 Weeks Later juxtaposes the war on zombies with the actual war on terror, so the film acquires an unexpected political edginess amidst all of the horror tactics. As shot by the young Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (the maker of Intacto), the film occasionally loses its subtlety to scenes of excessive blood and gore, but much of the time I had no trouble accepting the plausibility of the storyline.
At times reminiscent of Children of Men, 28 Weeks Later is one of the best horror sequels since Aliens. Imagine descending into a pitch-black