Lost Souls (2000)

Directed by Janusz Kaminski [Other horror films: N/A]

I wasn’t really expecting too much out of this, given what little I knew about the plot (an atheist journalist finds out he’s the Antichrist, essentially), and also given this came out a year after End of Days, another Antichrist-based horror film, so after finishing it, Lost Souls basically went how I thought it would.

Certainly I’ll admit that it’s nice to see Winona Ryder (Beetle Juice and Alien: Resurrection) and John Hurt (Doctor Who and Whistle and I’ll Come to You), both of whom did an okay job, and I didn’t mind the other performances, though Ben Chaplin, despite being most of the focus of the film, never really resonated with me.

That said, the story, while occasionally interesting (the most enjoyable portions being the short time spent with Ryder and Chaplin investigating Chaplin’s origins), felt really rushed at times. I mean, that ending just came and went like zat, as my homegirl Fleur would say (that’s a random Harry Potter reference for all my wizard friends out there). There were some aspects in the story worth delving into (though no matter how hard this tried, it couldn’t beat Damien: Omen II in the Antichrist learning his origins), but that didn’t really happen here, even with the pointless twists thrown in.

Also, I just don’t buy for a second that all of those people at the end knew Chaplin’s character was the Antichrist his whole life and were able to keep it a secret. With that many random people, I don’t care how secure the cult, word would get out.

I feel like this movie was trying to cash in on the whole End of Days and Stigmata trend (Stigmata is a film I started once, but never got around to finishing, on a dull side-note I can pass off as interesting), and while I did like this marginally more than End of Days, maybe solely for Ryder’s presence and maybe that assassination attempt (which was almost tense), it’s not a hell of a lot more than below average.

5.5/10

An American Haunting (2005)

Directed by Courtney Solomon [Other horror films: N/A]

I’m somewhat of two minds about this one. I certainly like some of the scenes in the film, and I don’t object to that much of the movie, but the finale didn’t really feel right to me, and the ending scene itself struck me as just overly dramatic (here’s a hint: instead of screaming at a moving car, just call the police to stop the car. It’ll probably work better, at least if you’re white).

Before I go further, I should explain that there are two versions of this film, a PG-13 version and an unrated version. I didn’t know this before hand, but thankfully, it turns out I watched the unrated version, which was about eight minutes longer. I saw this film once before, and I can’t recall if what I watched then was also the unrated version, or perhaps the PG-13 version, but either way, what I thought about the movie the first time around is about what I think this time around.

I don’t hold it against the film for looking for an explanation that might be a little more memorable than your average supernatural movie, but I have to say, even with the tiny hints and clues that something else was afoot, it felt, at least to me, that the ending came out of nowhere. Also, while I believe that the victim of such a circumstance might be forced to forget about the incident, others who happen to just walk into such a situation strike me as not being able to forget so quickly. It just felt odd, especially when it seems that the entity, whatever it was, set out to harm and persistently bother both Donald Sutherland’s and Rachel Hurd-Wood’s characters.

Some years ago, I watched a Japanese film known as Tales of Terror: Haunted Apartment, and it was mostly a decent little Asian horror film. That was, until the ending, which threw in a plot twist that, as far as I could tell, was basically never hinted at once throughout the previous hour and a half, and it just felt like it was thrown in to shock people. Here, there are hints given, but I don’t know if they’re too subtle or maybe not given enough, but it just didn’t really feel like an earned finale to me.

I’ve only seen Sutherland in a handful of movies (the most recent ones being the 2004 Salem’s Lot mini-series and the 2003 remake of The Italian Job), but I think he’s pretty okay here. I think that if the story had been changed up a little, his character could have been a lot better, but hey, he’s still a good actor. Rachel Hurd-Wood is solid too, though she doesn’t necessarily have a high amount of personal agency in the movie. Sissy Spacek (most famous now and forever for Carrie) was fine here, as was James D’Arcy (who played Jarvis in the ill-fated Agent Carter series), but neither one blew the top off the house.

Many of the haunting scenes themselves are decent, though few are stellar. Much of it is the being-held-down-by-an-unseen-entity variety, but that carriage scene was pretty solid from beginning to end. Also, I think Hurd-Wood’s interactions with the spirit at school were all enjoyable, though I wish the spirit had done more to help her than to terrify her, but then again, who am I to criticize how a spirit operates?

Once all is said and done, and we get past that ending which still feels off, An American Haunting is an okay movie, and certainly more well-made than some other versions of the story (such as the low-budget 2004 Bell Witch Haunting), but I don’t think there’s enough here for me to call it a good movie, even with the unrated version at my disposal, and overall, while I think there’s some good things here, ultimately it’s below average.

6/10

Saw (2004)

Directed by James Wan [Other horror films: Stygian (2000), Dead Silence (2007), Insidious (2010), The Conjuring (2013), Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013), The Conjuring 2 (2016), Malignant (2021)]

So it should come as no surprise that, to me, Saw is a very special movie. I don’t deny it’s dated in some aspects, nor do I deny that some of the performances aren’t quite up to snuff, but even with those issues, I can’t help but see this as an almost perfect movie.

A big part of this, to be sure, is nostalgia. When I first saw this film on Showtime or HBO, I had absolutely zero idea where it was going or how it’d end. I’m sure I had heard vaguely about the film, but I didn’t really know going in exactly what it was even about. And then, come the conclusion, I was blown away, and how.

To this day, that’s one of my favorite finales. Sure, the quick recap, giving us seemingly hundreds of short clips, is a bit much, and one of those dated aspects I mentioned, but despite that, it possesses such a depressing and hopeless aura to it, what with the screaming for mercy while the door is being slid shut. It’s just beautiful.

What’s also beautiful is the whole concept of Jigsaw. Throwing people he deems unworthy of the gift of life into torturous, yet beatable traps (in theory – that broken glass trap with the safe looked pretty close to impossible) is a fun concept to mess around with, and I thought they did a good job here, especially since, unlike later movies, this one doesn’t rely too much on the carnage and gore of the traps, but of the mystery surrounding the situation Adam and Lawrence find themselves in.

I think most people can see that Leigh Whannell’s performance is a bit off. He certainly cracked me up at times, and of all the characters in the film, he’s probably the most sympathetic, but the acting isn’t great. Luckily, it doesn’t really make a big negative impact in my mind, because most everyone else does decent. I mean, hell, the cast is actually pretty solid, with such names as Cary Elwes, Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon series), Michael Emerson, Tobin Bell, and Ken Leung (who randomly popped up over ten years later in the ill-fated MCU series Inhumans). All of them bring something to the table, and it makes the story work beautifully.

Personally, there are some films that aren’t easy to put into words just the amount of impact they make on me, and Saw is a good example of that. On almost any horror forum I’ve joined, my user name’s always been some variation of ‘Jigsaw,’ and though I can certainly see some flaws with additional viewings of the film, none of that can change the fact this movie as a big reason why I became such a dedicated fan of the genre, and I don’t really hesitate to give it the highest props possible.

10/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as I defend Saw against Chucky’s (@ChuckyFE) slanderous words.

Dark Ride (2006)

Directed by Craig Singer [Other horror films: Perkins’ 14 (2009)]

I think this is my third time watching Dark Ride, and the first time that I realized that it’s really not a good movie. It’s not a terrible movie, don’t get me wrong – if you want a quick slasher that has decent kills, then you could certainly do much worse. Even so, Dark Ride hits about the bare minimum of requirements, and I only just realized it with my most recent watch.

Most of the plot and kills strike me as competent (the blowjob decapitation perhaps standing out the most), with the only thing really setting this apart, at least to me, is the setting, and to be fair, it’s more or less just a rehash of Hooper’s The Funhouse anyway. None of the characters really stick with me, and some of the arguably better characters (Patrick Renna, for instance) sort of fall flat come the finale. Like I said, Dark Ride is competent, but it isn’t really much more.

It’s hard to say that anyone really stood out. Patrick Renna (Fear, Inc. and ‘Bad Blood,’ one of the best episodes of The X-Files) had charm at times, in his awkwardly geeky way, but he could also be a bit of a dick. At least he was somewhat memorable, though, as David Clayton Rogers and Alex Solowitz often feel as though they fade into the background.

Jamie Lynn-Sigler and Jennifer Tisdale were cute, I guess, but it’s Andrea Bogart who is clearly the VIP here, as far as actresses go. Her introductory scene cracks me up, and though she may just be a generic hippie character, I totally dug it. The killer (played by Dave Warden) had a decent-looking design, but wasn’t really anything special or that remarkable.

There is a bit of comedic value in the film. Nothing major, but a few quips here and there that I sort of chuckled at, such as Renna’s character apparently not knowing what a condom was, or Renna’s constant movie talk, and Andrea Bogart’s impassioned delivery about music, hitchhiking, and sexual assault, not to mention the scene at the gas station. There’s enough here to at least keep you amused even if the horror aspects were by-the-numbers.

Certainly I think the finale as a whole was laughably awful – while I liked aspects of the twist, I thought it came across as sort of cheesy, and not much of a shock. It’s not as though it ruined the movie, though, as the film still has a little entertainment value, but the ending was definitely something that could have been improved.

Dark Ride is entertaining to an extent, and if you’re a slasher fan, I doubt you’d have a terrible time with this, but it probably lacks what makes some of the best slasher films memorable, so it may best be suited for a single viewing as opposed to making any type of annual rotation.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Dark Ride.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Directed by Rob Zombie [Other horror films: House of 1000 Corpses (2003), Halloween (2007), Halloween II (2009), The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009), The Lords of Salem (2012), 31 (2016), 3 from Hell (2019)]

Like many of the films I’ve seen recently, The Devil’s Rejects is one that I’ve not seen in years. There was a time in the past where I rated this quite highly, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. While I still derive quite a bit of enjoyment out of it, I don’t think it’s the masterpiece I once thought it was. Easily, though, this would be in Rob Zombie’s top movies, without question.

Also important to mention is something most people already know, being that this is a complete tonal shift away from the psychedelic House of 1000 Corpses. It’s a shift that I think makes sense, and more so, was probably necessary. In fact, the shift is so huge that this barely resembles a horror film, and, much like The Silence of the Lambs (which is arguably more horror than this), it’s on the fence of the genre. Personally, I’ve always seen enough here to count it, but I also dislike The Shining and Drag Me to Hell, so as always, take my opinions with a grain of salt.

I think what really pulls this movie together into the solid film it is are the fantastic central performances, especially from Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Sid Haig. We don’t get a lot of Haig in the previous film, but here, he’s decently fleshed out, and his scenes with Zombie and Moseley are golden given their deep history and fun interactions, and that ending is an emotional gut-punch on par with Titanic’s finale (and I’m only half joking).

Haig’s fun throughout, and the same can be said for Moseley, who really gives up some quality quotes (“I am the devil, and I am here to do the devil’s work”) throughout. Sheri Moon Zombie used to annoy me here, and to an extent, she still does, but I do find aspects of her character quite amusing (such as her blowing at a victim’s hair just to get a rise out of them) and her relationship with Otis and Spaulding is well-shown here.

Replacing Karen Black as Mother Firefly was Leslie Easterbrook (Police Academy), and while she may lack some of the charisma as Black, I think she does a great job showing the character’s more unstable side despite not having much screen-time. And speaking of unstable, William Forsythe (who strikes me as a big name, but I’ve not seen outside of Halloween and The Rig) does great as a deranged police officer. Lastly, Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, From Beyond, and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) was great, though his character was a bit hard to like at times. Still, him and his carnal relations with chickens made for a quality subplot.

I’m not really as interested in Forsythe’s investigations throughout the film, be it his argument about Elvis and Groucho Marx or his dealings with the two bounty hunters (Danny Trejo and Dallas Page), partially because I get tired of seeing Trejo’s face, and partially because it took time away from what I found the far-more engaging relationship between the remaining Firefly family, but I get the interest too in seeing more of Forsythe’s character devolving.

Otherwise, I find the story pretty engrossing throughout, and the finale at the Firefly house, what with Forsythe’s character torturing the three of them, was both fantastic and oddly emotional, though it can’t compete with the true emotion we get at the ending, and “Free Bird” playing the movie out. Just an overall fantastic conclusion.

I don’t like this movie quite as much as I used to, or maybe it’s more fair to say that I don’t quite place this on as high a pedestal as I did in the past. No doubt The Devil’s Rejects is still a good movie, but as my appreciation for House of 1000 Corpses has grown over the last couple of viewings, I can’t even truthfully admit that I like this much more.

8.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Devil’s Rejects.

Valentine (2001)

Directed by Jamie Blanks [Other horror films: Urban Legend (1998), Storm Warning (2007), Long Weekend (2008)]

Life sometimes strips away the finer things, and leaves but a burnt out husk in it’s wake.

That’s how I see Valentine.

There was a time in my life when I really enjoyed this movie, and would place it alongside Urban Legend, Cherry Falls, and I Know What You Did Last Summer as great post-Scream slashers. My recent visitation with Urban Legend has already removed it from that list, though, and unfortunately, the same has happened with this one, which is a damn disappointment.

Valentine is a movie I really wanted to end up enjoying as much as I used to, but I just couldn’t. It certainly had it’s strong elements, such as the design of the killer (and not just the mask – the overall dark clothing was, as the kids say, off the chain-hook), the small comedic scenes (such as the speed-dating or the argument between Benita Ha and Jessica Capshaw), and the solid opening (Katherine Heigl being stalked by the killer). Hell, most of the kills are actually pretty decent (my favorite perhaps being the bow-and-arrow murder).

Even with all of these positive portions, I found the whole of the film somewhat, for lack of a better word, shallow, and definitely, by the end, somewhat under-cooked.

Most of the acting is fine. I don’t think anyone is particularly great, mind, but most of the main performances (such as Marley Shelton, Jessica Cauffiel, David Boreanaz, Daniel Cosgrove, what-have-you) are competent enough to not cause any issues. If there was one moderately iffy performance, I’d have to point at Boreanaz, but it may be more because I disliked his character than the actual ability behind his acting.

It’s largely the conclusion to this one that really lets me down. Some of my issues are small things (for instance, I do not believe for a second that, at a party of something like a hundred people, only one person would be in the hot-tub, and no one would be in the game room), but the reveal of the killer’s identity also strikes me as weak. It didn’t help that I was reminded in part of Alone in the Dark, which is a much better movie than this one in most ways.

I’m not saying that Valentine can’t be a good watch, and to a certain extent, I enjoyed a decent amount of the film. The ending just doesn’t really do the rest of the film justice, which is a shame because I think Valentine had a lot going for it.

Oh, and one more point which I thought was somewhat amusing. I mentioned earlier that I recently rewatched Urban Legend, and found it lacking. It’s a better movie than this one is, to be sure, but it still felt just as tame and held back as Valentine feels, at least to me.

As it turns out, and I honestly didn’t know this until after finishing Valentine this time around, this film and Urban Legend share the same director, being Jamie Blanks. Given that piece of information, it makes sense that this rewatch went about as poorly as Urban Legend, which, again, is a shame.

No doubt there are worse movies out there, and I also don’t doubt that I’ll see this one in the future, and perhaps I’ll even see Valentine in a moderately kinder light with my next viewing. Right now, though, I think it’s below average, but not disastrously so.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. It’s a quality podcast, if only because I’m there. As such, if you listen to the video below, you can hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Valentine.

Bruiser (2000)

Directed by George A. Romero [Other horror films: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Hungry Wives (1972), The Crazies (1973), The Amusement Park (1975), Martin (1976), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985), Monkey Shines (1988), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar’), The Dark Half (1993), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009)]

This movie is a hodge-podge of different ideas, and I think that’s partially why it came across, at least to me, as a mess. It’s part thriller, part romance, part comedy (I guess?), part slasher, and for the lulz, it throws in some music at the end.

Listen, the fact that Romeo directed this doesn’t bother me. I enjoy Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead (I’ve yet to see any sequels past that), but he’s not someone who I’d rate up there in the best horror directors, and if he wanted to change things up with this one, so be it. It’s just that Bruiser is such a mess that it defies almost any enjoyment.

Hell, it’s an hour and 45 minutes, and I watched every second. I still have exactly no idea what “brusier” even means, and that’s a problem, but just one of many.

Primarily, it could be said that the fact Brusier isn’t strictly horror is my biggest personal issue. Don’t get me wrong, even if it focused more on horror and less on the thriller/romance/fantasy stuff, I’d probably still rather dislike it, but it just seemed all over the place, as if it had no idea what it was going for (some scenes were openly comedic, but that never seemed the main idea either).

The whole premise bothers me, to be honest. This living carpet of a man wakes up one morning and his face is all white, probably because he has no identity (well, an overtly aggressive identity, anyway). Why this is is never explained, or how. Or what. It just happens, and it didn’t interest or intrigue me at all, especially once I found out we probably weren’t getting any answers on that anyway.

Jason Flemyng was decent in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but he doesn’t suit the role here. To be fair, no matter who took on the role, I’d have hated it, but even so, Flemyng doesn’t seem right here. Peter Stormare (Fargo) was unbearable in his over-the-top role, and I hated him. Tom Atkins (The Fog, Night of the Creeps, Halloween III) is here, but it also doesn’t do anything at all for me, given how poor the film is.

Listen, I don’t even want to harp on this anymore – for some people, Bruiser apparently worked fine. It’s straddling the 5/10 rating on IMDb, so enough people found it competent, at least. I didn’t. I legitimately didn’t have a good time at all. I felt it was going for some deep message about identity, but it never really makes it clear, and without a focus, it felt like a mess. Oh, and that last scene? Just shows me that the whole thing is a joke that no one bothered to explain.

I’ll throw it a few points for Flemyng’s recital of a poem, though, and for that scene where he shoots his backstabbing friend. Otherwise, this has little to nothing going for it, at least not in my opinion.

4/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Brusier.

The House of the Devil (2009)

Directed by Ti West [Other horror films: The Roost (2005), Trigger Man (2007), Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2009), The Innkeepers (2011), V/H/S (2012, segment ‘Second Honeymoon’), The ABCs of Death (2012, segment ‘M is for Miscarriage’), The Sacrament (2013)]

I’ve not seen many Ti West films. Aside from this, Cabin Fever 2 and The Roost have been it (I recall enjoying The Roost, but boy, I didn’t care for Cabin Fever 2 at all). That said, I was still interested in finally seeing this one, especially because it’s generally gotten favorable reaction from most people I know.

All-in-all, though, I have to say that it feels more like a mixed bag than anything else.

The presentation is off the hook, though. Styled after classic movies of the 1970’s, this has an overall great retro, throwback feel that really has to be seen to be believed. It’s just great, and what helps is the sense of unease and tension that permeates throughout most of the film. You get some great style, you get some great tension, and you get a few good performances (Jocelin Donahue being the best), so what’s my hesitation with lauding over this one?

Perhaps the biggest issue here is the nature of the story. Based on what little I knew about this going it, I was sort of thinking it’d be along the lines of 2008’s Babysitter Wanted, though it reminded me far more of 1973’s Warlock Moon. My preconceptions aside, The House of the Devil is very much a slow-burn, and it’s not until the final 15 minutes that things really pick up. That’s fine in some ways, as you don’t want to spoil where exactly the story is going before you get to the climax, but for an hour and ten minutes, we have a lot of creepy and unsettling vibes, a few scenes of surprising violence, and that’s it.

Really, it’s a case of ‘to each his own,’ because I definitely see the appeal of such a slow-paced film. A bigger issue I had was with the finale overall, though, from the ritual, as it was, to the final shot. Nothing there was particularly shocking or really all that surprising, and I just don’t know if the build-up was really necessary for what we got. Obviously, from Donahue’s character’s viewpoint, this wouldn’t make a difference, but from an audience stand-point, it warrants a mention.

Jocelin Donahue is really the only stand-out here. I really liked Greta Gerwig, and wish that she was more central to the plot, but it wasn’t to be. Affable yet off, Tom Noonan was pretty decent too. The rest of the family, though, from his wife (Mary Woronov) to his son (AJ Bowen) didn’t do much for me, mainly because we never really learned much about them, or saw that much of them to begin with.

This is a well-made movie, with a solid style and shot in an often interesting ways (very stagnant camera angles which worked to this film’s benefit), but when things lean more Satanic and supernatural in nature, it’s easier for me to get turned off. I still think The House of the Devil is probably worth seeing, and I really appreciated the retro feel this had, but I can’t pretend that I loved it, because I didn’t, and while I might revisit this at some point in the future, for the moment, I just find the film average.

7/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The House of the Devil.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Directed by Zack Snyder [Other horror films: Army of the Dead (2021)]

Perhaps one of the best zombie movies of the 2000’s, this remake does a lot right. I happened to see this before I caught the original, and while I do like the original more, this version is no slouch, and it’s a solid ride throughout.

I think a large part of this is how some of the characters here develop, such as Michael Kelly’s CJ, who started off as an utter jackass, but then becomes quite a valuable team member. It’s accurate, actually, to say that most focal performances here are solid, from the lead actress, Sarah Polley, to the sarcastic rich asshole, Ty Burrell (who cracked me up throughout).

With such a large cast, I want to at least give kudos to most of these performances. R.D. Reid, Boyd Banks, Jayne Eastwood, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Kevin Zegers, and Michael Barry (who I randomly know from the Goosebumps two-parter The Werewolf of Fever Swamp) were all solid in their roles. I didn’t care much for Lindy Booth (though her actions may play a role in that) or Inna Korobkina, but it was nice seeing Ken Foree and Tom Savini here.

Being a big budget film, the special effects and cinematography were pretty top-notch. I don’t think I have a favorite scene of gore, but some of the shots early on in the film, showing the destruction of Sarah Polley’s suburban life, are shot beautifully. The chaos there is fantastic, and you have to love it. Also, throwing on what may be one of Johnny Cash’s best songs (“The Man Comes Around”) during the title sequence was a solid choice.

There are some scenes throughout the film that personally never did that much for me, such as the baby sequence, and, in relation, the degradation of Mekhi Phifer’s character, who was somewhat interesting at the beginning. It makes sense in context, but I still don’t care much for it. Lindy Booth (who, if she looks familiar, you may remember from Wrong Turn) plays a character who suffers multiple losses, but still ends up making a rather stupid mistake late into the film. Still, the parking garage scene in fun, and their escape attempt, with their decked out buses, was quality too.

Dawn of the Dead is a somewhat longer film (the version I went with was an hour and 50 minutes or so), but it doesn’t really drag at any point, even when some characters are thrown in who never really get screen-time (such as those played by Jayne Eastwood, R.D. Reid, and Kim Poirier). We get some time lapses of their life in the mall, which are equal parts amusing and realistic. And when the action comes around, it sure do come around, brahs.

This is a fun movie throughout, and there’s a reason why so many fans of the genre give it such props. Like I said, I don’t think it’s as good as the original Dawn of the Dead, but this is still a well-done zombie movie well worth the respect it’s gathered.

8.5/10

28 Weeks Later (2007)

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.

6.5/10