28 days later, director Danny boyleThe terrifying sight of London in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse immediately sparked a resurgence of interest in the genre when it debuted in 2002. Boyle’s Perspective, published at the dawn of digital innovation, has become a classic. instantaneous because of its humanist drama and biting political allusions. All zombie movies must live in the shadow of George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead, but Boyle’s innovative vision of a 21st century post-apocalypse has emerged as a worthy contender. Naturally, expectations were high for the follow-up, 28 weeks later. Boyle was out, choosing instead to work on the sci-fi epic Sunshine, another collaboration with the screenwriter Alex Garland. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo stepped in as a director, but his screenplay, co-written with Rowan JoffÃ©, Enrique Lopez-Lavigne, and Jesus olmo– would follow an entirely different group of characters. At first glance, the prospects for the sequel were not promising.
But 28 weeks later is a perfect conclusion to a terrifying dual functionality, retaining the same frantic pace and distinguished style of Boyle’s work while expanding the searing commentary of government and military responses to a global health crisis. As 28 days later, it feels all the more prophetic in the era of the pandemic, with its own set of memorable characters and terrifying settings.
The opening sequence alone alerts viewers that they’re about to have a thrill. Zombie cinema is at its best when it focuses on the moral dilemmas characters face when risking their own survival, and Robert carlyleThe protagonist of Don, is brilliantly presented in a flashback where he is forced to abandon his wife as she tries to save a young boy from a group of infected. It’s an unthinkable scenario that forces Don to face two decisions in a split second; is he ready to let a stranger die to save his wife, and is he ready to let his wife die to save himself? Don doesn’t have time to consider the decisions that come his way, and he’s forced to deal with the ramifications of his inaction over the course of the film.
Carlyle is emotionally exhausted early on, but perhaps even more overwhelming than the visceral sight of her escape is the moment Don breaks news of their mother’s death to his children, lying about his role in her disappearance. 28 days later created a family unit thanks to the union of Jim (Cillian murphy), Selena (Naomie harris), and young Hannah (Megan Burns), But 28 weeks later tears one up through the introduction of Don’s teenage daughter Tammy (Imogen Poots) and his youngest son, Andy (Mackintosh muggleton). Don’s guilt haunts his interactions. Carlyle does a great job showing how Don’s priorities change. The character is forced to ask himself: is the lie for the good of his children or is it just to console himself?
Don’s growth as a father, similar to but distinct from Murphy’s patriarchal role, is made all the more overwhelming when his children are forced to make a similar decision during the film’s climax. Children in zombie movies too often feel like a burden that is only involved to generate sympathy, but the characters in 28 weeks later feel a lot more active. They are the ones who are forced to face their father’s mistakes when Don inadvertently spreads the virus during quarantine. Poots, in particular, is fantastic; the future Green room The star has shown her precocious expertise in horror as a fiercely independent teenager forced to shoulder the burden of parenting as she protects her younger brother.
Jeremy Renner, too, is phenomenal in a pre-The Hurt Locker the role of Doyle, a Delta Force sniper who suffers a crisis of conscience when he chooses to protect Tammy and Andy from orders. Idris elbe fills the role needed in every zombie movie, the ruthless military leader ready to order civilian bombing to prevent further infections, but Elba is at least able to bring out the logical advantage of a character who could easily have been played just right for a snapshot. The procedural operation of the military forces and contempt for the loss of life is just as frightening as the fast-moving zombies themselves.
While the film expands its perspective to explore the global nature of the pandemic, 28 weeks later always keeps the action relatively focused, and Fresnadillo has no shortage of memorable set pieces. The escape through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, in particular, is as thrilling as anything in its predecessor, a marathon reminiscent of another iconic sci-fi horror sequel: Aliens. The scene combines an overwhelming claustrophobia with a relentless rhythm, and when the violence does arise it is both shocking and blind. While action works best by exploring the chaos of mass panic, it also gives clear motivation and purpose to Rose ByrneScarlet’s chief medical officer, who discovers that children can have a cure for the infection.
Without risking too many similarities with the first film, 28 weeks later concludes on a comparable bittersweet note. As the children survive thanks to Doyle’s sacrifice (a sacrifice their father did not himself), the virus continues to spread and there are only vague prospects for a cure. Zombies have invaded the continent. But at that point, victory is simply survival. Raw and brilliantly solemn, the future is at least illuminated by a touching bond between brothers and sisters.
The ending is perfectly satisfying but leaves the door open to 28 months later. Rumors of the proposed sequel have faded over the past decade, and Boyle and Garland continue to innovate in other genres and expand their portfolios, but if the end of 28 weeks later teaches us anything, is that we can never enough Give up hope. As is, we end up with an almost perfectly crafted duo of undead movies. When 28 days later is rightly cited as one of the best of its kind, its sequel deserves equal success.
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The long-running franchise’s sci-fi episode leaves Netflix on June 30.
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