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December 11th, 2006:
The British Isles that were once infested with ravenous, bloodthirsty maniacs, are now almost completely void of life. Six months after the outbreak of the deadly Rage Virus annihilated the land, London is ready to be repopulated and reconstruction of the country can begin. Under the strict supervision of the U.S. Military, the first wave of refugees is allowed back into the city. Among them are Don (Robert Carlyle
), his new girlfriend Scarlett (Rose Byrne
), and Don’s two children. Don lost his wife during the original infection, while Scarlett lost her entire family. All seems under control until a new carrier of the virus makes his way within the quarantined area. As the only known live specimen, he becomes a vital tool to the scientists who hope to learn from their discovery. Call it carelessness or call it bad luck, but the virus eventually spreads once again and now may be even more difficult to contain than the first time around.What to Expect:
The film is obviously a sequel to the 2003 hit 28 Days Later… The British import was shot using digital video and had a modest $8 million budget, but managed to bring in an impressive $45 million during its theatrical run in the United States alone. Although the original left little opening for a sequel, things have a way of working themselves out when potential profits are involved. Article continues below
Although some have said that cult director Danny Boyle
(Trainspotting, Millions) rejuvenated the zombie franchise with his flick, he has decided to step aside and give someone else a shot at the sequel. He is still on board as producer, as is Alex Garland, who wrote the first flick. Andrew Macdonald returns to produce as well. So while the production has a familiar team in charge, the film has been left in the hands of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
, who takes over directing duties. His name may not be immediately familiar, but the filmmaker has shown a budding talent in the past. Fresnadillo’s enigmatic and engaging thriller Intacto may not have made that much noise upon release, but is well worth checking out for a sample of the director’s visual flair and his mastery over dark, disturbing content. Additionally, Fresnadillo is actually an Oscar nominated director for his 1996 short film Esposados, so he is certainly someone that’s been on the verge of getting that major gig at some point.
Sadly for fans of the original, no cast members are scheduled to return in the sequel. Cillian Murphy
(Batman Begins, Red Eye) is gone, but has re-teamed with Boyle on the upcoming science-fiction flick Sunshine
. Naomie Harris
was rumored to reprise her role as Selena, but those rumors were proved to be just that. The big star in the sequel is Scottish born actor Robert Carlyle, who somehow manages to make every major British production so much better. His manic persona is so perfectly suited for this sort of material that I am surprised that Boyle, who worked with Carlyle on a few occasions in the past, never used him in the original.
***WARNING: SPOILER AHEAD***
The rumor is that Carlyle’s character gets infected in the movie.
***END OF SPOILER***
The actor has some experience with zombie flicks, having starred in the entertaining, genre-blending Ravenous. Jeremy Renner
(Lords of Dogtown, Dahmer), will be the other hero in the picture. He’ll play Sgt. Doyle who is part of the American Special Forces team working on restoring order in London. Harold Perrineau
(The Matrix Revolutions, “Lost”) will co-star as an upbeat Special Forces pilot who leads the families returning to London to their safety, while documenting the ordeal with his camera. With Carlyle as the lead and rising starlet Rose Byrne
(Troy, Marie Antoinette
) as his girl, this cast promises to deliver the goods in a similar way that the original one did.
Although many online fans have already been debating the plot logistics of how the virus could possibly spread once again, I am certain that the filmmakers will figure out something that will hold under even the heaviest scrutiny. A graphic novel titled “28 Days Later: The Aftermath” is currently scheduled to come out in the spring of 2007, prior to the sequel’s release, and is likely to answer some questions as it bridges the gap between the two parts. In the meantime, here are some interesting tidbits of what you can expect to see in the sequel. The United States military has set up camp and is working with the British to restore law and order and to take advantage of the economic opportunities that a new England may have to offer. Of course, they are taking all the necessary precautions, including bombing of survivors, to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. The English Channel will supposedly be littered with dead bodies. Britain has been reduced to just 7,000 people after some 60 million have been killed. London has been divided into zones, with repopulation being performed under the highest security in the “safe” zone. Apparently, the last infected person died 28 weeks ago since the virus can only survive in fresh, healthy living humans. Here’s how the virus begins to spread once again.
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
According to early reports, Don’s son finds an abandoned, infected boy in the water at an aquarium. Perhaps it is because of the water that the virus has somehow survived. Military scientists immediately take interest in the boy’s discovery, hoping to make an antibody. Because of their typically dumb and clichéd decision, the virus spreads once more.
***END OF SPOILERS***
Reportedly, the manner in which the virus is transferred from one host to another will actually be the big hook in the movie as it will not be exactly the same as in the original flick.
Filming has been taking place in London, England once again. Early footage shows great use of Britain’s characteristic, grassy open fields and dark, claustrophobic spaces. Personally, I am most interested in seeing just what a completely abandoned nation looks like. At the same time, I’m well aware that the quiet and suspenseful moments will not last. While 28 Days Later… only hinted at an outbreak, 28 Weeks Later… will show it in full force. As a result, the sequel is bound to move at a rapid pace with a lot more blood, gore, and action. As is common with the best zombie flicks, there may be some hidden social commentary in the storyline as well. It could be suggested that the American occupation of London is meant to draw parallels with current world affairs, particularly in Iraq. Let the debates begin.In Conclusion:
28 Weeks Later… is going to be a fast, furious, and fun flick, that may not have the wit of 28 Days Later…, but may not lag very far behind either. The quality may suffer somewhat from what appears to be a more action-driven approach, but it may still turn out to be one of the bigger summer movies. As a sequel, it actually has a shot to outperform its predecessor, but I wouldn’t expect huge numbers with a cast that lacks the superstar names. With lame horror
flicks like the latest in the Saw
, Texas Chainsaw Massacre
, and Grudge
franchises dominating the theaters, 28 Weeks Later… may actually be one of very few that are worth checking out. The Messengers
and The Hitcher
, which are both still waiting to hit screens, are likely to follow the same idiotic formula of young, pretty, and helpless characters making stupid mistakes to get themselves into more danger. 28 Weeks Later… should at least rise above such drivel and should be a nice alternative for a crowd that’s actually interested in quality.Similar Titles: 28 Days Later
, Dawn of the Dead (2004)
, Land of the Dead