Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo [Other horror films: Intruders (2011)]
When I revisited 28 Days Later…, I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Revisiting this one didn’t have the same outcome, alas. Not that 28 Weeks Later is terrible or anything, but I just never found it in me throughout the film to get too excited. Some interesting ideas, and I’ll touch on those, but overall, it’s almost bland in comparison to the first movie.
I’ll give it to the main cast, though, who are all decent (save for perhaps Robert Carlyle). Rose Byrne (Insidious) was decently fine, though I admit that it would have been nice to learn maybe a little more about her. Jeremy Renner (The Avengers) may have made some questionable decisions, but I rather enjoyed his character, and I personally don’t have a problem with him going AWOL. What moral person wouldn’t in his situation? Imogen Poots wasn’t really special, but despite her atrocious decisions, I thought she had more heart than Mackintosh Muggleton, who played her younger brother.
The story, though, was somewhat hard for me to get into. I don’t really mind the asymptomatic idea, but the fact that they (military and scientists both) left her entirely unguarded is utterly laughable. And when they’re gathering up all the civilians into a “safe area,” that “safe area” has more than one exit, and one of the exits isn’t guarded, so, well, infected individuals get in, and all hell breaks loose.
Past that point, it’s entirely on the military what happens to the population, as small as it was, in London. When the snipers get orders to start shooting everyone, infected or otherwise, it may be the logical choice, but you can’t fault anyone getting shot at for attempting to escape in any way possible. At that point, as far as I’m concerned, the military screwed up, and void all right to authority over anyone on the ground.
I mean, really, I’ve never served a day in uniform, and never would, if given the choice, but apparently I’m more intelligent than the commanders in this situation. Collecting all the civilians into one location in order to keep them safe is fine. It’s a good idea. Having multiple exits is, of course, a good idea. But why does only one of the exits have guards? With that easily avoidable mistake, they infected pretty much the world (because there’s no way a second outbreak isn’t reaching mainland Europe).
When there’s a lot of questionable set-up before the primary action, it becomes hard to really get too invested. Sure, I was rooting for Renner’s character when he left his sniping of innocent people and instead went to help them escape, but the whole situation was ridiculous to begin with, and realistically, I don’t think it’d ever happen.
Here’s another thing – Robert Carlyle’s character is a caretaker of one of the buildings. Pretty much, he keeps things running smoothly. That’s all fine and well. His key-card grants him access to any place in the building, which makes sense. The problem is it also grants him access to purely military installations. Why? Why not just allow him access to his job locations, and restrict access to, you know, parameters outside of his employment?
An asymptomatic woman is found. She’s infected, but is still mostly normal. She’s not crazy, nor does she desire to eat flesh. Carlyle’s character is her husband. Because his key-card was idiotically keyed, and because the woman wasn’t guarded, Carlyle’s character was able to get to her, kiss her, and start the infection up again.
I don’t blame Carlyle’s character at all. If your wife was found, of course you’d want to get to her. Who can blame him for that? It’s entirely possible he didn’t even know she was infected, because I don’t believe he was told. If his key-card hadn’t granted him access to her, none of this would have ever happened.
This is what I’m talking about. It’s not the character’s faults, as far as I’m concerned. Even the military probably weren’t the ones who designed the architecture of the facility, nor the ones who came up with the emergency plans in case of a new outbreak. Because of the foolishness that went into these aspects, though, it just comes across as pretty bad.
28 Weeks Later is still a thrilling and decent zombie film, make no mistake. There’s some pretty cool scenes (though one of the most-talked about sequences, being the helicopter one, was just too much), and of course the budget here came to play. The story itself, though, was faulty, and that can’t just be excused, especially after how spectacular the first movie was.