2007-06-22 / Columnists

'28 Weeks Later' - Zombieland

Review By Robert Snyder

Review By Robert Snyder

Connecting to the current global climate of fear and paranoia, new zombie thriller "28 Weeks Later" (sequel to "28 Days Later") is riding a wave of popularity, even in the face of summer third-sequel onslaughts.

Directed and co-written by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, "28 Weeks Later" centers on a sequence which resonates of the Iraq War. United States military snipers are trying to contain an outbreak of zombie-virus infection in London. They are poised on rooftops making snap judgments as to who in the rampaging crowd are "friendlies" or "infecteds." With the issuance of Code Red, it soon becomes, "What the hell. Shoot them all."

How do you contain chaos? If people want to kill themselves along with innocents, what's an American soldier to do?

The best bet is to hightail it out of there. Which is what Special Forces Sergeant/Sniper Doyle (Jeremy Renner) does. Ditto for medical officer Scarlet (Rose Byrne). She asks Doyle, "Why did you leave your post?" He responds with, "Why did you?"

Neither needs to answer. The world is coming to an end, so all you can do is run. Doyle and Scarlet lead a group of survivors that includes two teen siblings, Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imogen Poots), through the scary bowels of London buildings where, without a night-vision scope, it's hard to tell the corpses from the ghouls.

At the end of the prequel film, "Days," the zombie-virus dissipates, but is destined to be re-activated by the teens in this sequel. Infection-free because they were out of England in "Days," the teens break quarantine to find their mother, Alice (Catherine McCormack), in a country house. Bitten but miraculously uninfected, Alice is examined by Scarlet, who believes she has an all-important immunity gene. Andy has it as well.

Along comes Don (Robert Carlyle), father of the teens and absentee husband of Alice, who deserted during a previous zombie-virus attack. Guilt-ridden, he gives her a kiss, which instantly sends him to zombieland. Now a ghoul, he gets the virus going again, setting off the aforementioned shooting sequence with sniper Doyle and other U.S. soldiers on the rooftops.

Intensely gory, the violence in "28 Weeks Later" is offset by its frenzied cinematography (courtesy of Enrique Chediak), where everything is basically a blur. Still, the frightening aspect of the film lies in its message of humanity's inevitable doom. When reports of disease, terrorism, global warming and war dominate the media, the only good vibe from "28 Weeks Later" is the realization that zombies haven't attacked…yet.

Go see "28 Weeks Later" before they do.

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