Thursday, May 24, 2007

28 Weeks Later (2007)

28 Weeks Later
Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton
Grade: C+

While Danny Boyle had his hands full last year making the efervescent spiritual Sunshine, he was also an executive producer to the sequel of his 2002 horror flick, 28 Days Later, handily titled, 28 Weeks Later. While Days left us wanting more -- and certainly with room for more -- the virus at a relatively recent point of outbreak, this installment of the franchise carries the story from a much more developed point, the virus having been all but eradicated and Brits stranded overseas being returned to a zone in London deemed free of infection. These include the daughters of Don (Carlyle), who we see survive an onslaught of 'rage' victims in the opening sequence of the film.

The decision not to use the same characters as in the original may have been out of the control of many involved but nevertheless does seem strange, given that we associate every element of the virus plot with Harris, Murphy and Burns, the original battling survivors (depending on which ending you've seen, of course). Still, Fresdanillo and co. do a generally successful job in making the central characters in the film identifiable and empathetic, as do Muggleton and Poots, who are believable, if not up to the standards of the original trio. It is however, even creepier than the first, maintaining the sense of desperation within the characters, as well as their raw and intense thirst for survival so evident in Days, making for some incredibly tense sequences. However, the film seems so eager to shock that when the jump-enducing moments arrive they feel staged and eventually repetitive, descending Weeks into a kind of exercise in cheap-thrill armchair-clutching discomfort that feels all too imposed by Fresdanillo.

Indeed, the film often feels incoherent, taking what feels like contrived recesses from the plot to launch its indulgent airstrike of "Will they won't they?" frenzied editing before giving us sweeping political commentary on the US military and majestic towering overhead views of London. It almost feels like a half-hearted effort to veer from a primarily thrill-seeking picture, which if done well there is absoloutely nothing wrong with, but as it happens the commentary of Weeks ends up awkward and truthfully a little insincere. While Days gave us an insight into humanity, Weeks barely breaches the doldrums, but crucially it is always entertaining and admittedly often effective.

1 comment:

RC said...

there's just not too much about this film that interest me.

the different characters is an interesting thing too.