28 Weeks Later (2007)★★★★☆


When this came out, I remember worrying that it was going to be a disappointment or that it was going to sully the original’s good name. And then I saw that Rose Byrne was in it, and I got a little more excited. And the good news is I wasn’t disappointed at all!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not quite as good as the original. This one came out in the midst of Hollywood’s zombie zealotry and has the production value to prove it. It’s definitely geared more towards flash than fright, though it has its moments. I don’t want to spoil too much but I’ll just say that the last scene with the parents together is killer (ha ha ha) and one of the scariest moments of the film.

Also, Rose Byrne isn’t the only familiar face here. There are a lot of familiar faces in this one. Jeremy Renner, Idris Elba, Robert Carlyle, and Harold Perrineau to name…well, most of them. And they were all great, but none so much as the two kids, Tammy and Andy. They were spectacular, and the bond between the two siblings was flawless. And they have the best names in the real world, too: Mackintosh Muggleton and Imogen Poots. No joke.

One of the things I liked best about the original was the awesome score, so I’m happy that the composer from the original came back for this one. I looked him up (John Murphy, apparently!) and was unsurprised to see that he’d also done the music for other things I liked (most notably the Guy Ritchie films Snatch. and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels). I felt like this movie had the perfect score for a sequel – reminiscent of the first, but somehow more powerful and overt, like it’s saying “now that I’ve got you, you aren’t getting away!” or something.

The pacing is fine through most of this movie, though it drags a bit at the end. The story is once again compelling and the characters sympathetic and mostly likable. This is a sequel that really honors the original, and aside from some overproduction concerns it’s a genuinely good movie on its own. It’s a bit more directly a zombie film than its predecessor, which focuses more on the social allegory part (and some of the horrors that humans inflict on each other even when they’re not infected).

Overall I’m really impressed by this film, particularly because it was written and directed by someone completely different from the original. In fact, the writer and director of this one is some guy from Spain who’d never done an English-language mainstream feature film before. I say “some guy” because I think it’s really cool. Without researching this at all, it makes me think that this guy (who’d dabbled in filmmaking in Spain before, sure) saw 28 Days Later and loved it so much that he was inspired to write and direct a sequel – and get the support of some top-tier talent, no less!

I’m going to leave it at that for tonight and not look into it. I don’t want to ruin this happy thought I’ve got right now. I’ll just leave you with the thought that if you’re a fan of the original, you should definitely see this sequel.