Wednesday, January 29

Screen Scene: “28 Weeks Later”

“28 Weeks Later”

Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Fox atomic Pictures

(Out Of 5)

Talk about coming back with a bang ““ and then a crash. The first 10 minutes of “28 Weeks Later” certainly hit the spot when it comes to the survival-horror genre.

The movie opens up almost immediately as mobs infected by “rage” (a deadly virus) attack a small group of survivors, forcing them to resort to using everything from a crowbar to a boat propeller as weapons. Complete with sniper rifles, unconventional weapons such as helicopter blades, air strikes, and a recycled eye-gouging scene from its 2002 predecessor “28 Days Later,” the movie keeps to the genre’s gory traditions.

But the film sadly divulges from the eerie silence of Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later.”

New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo introduces entirely new main characters and charges through the movie with nonstop action, chaotic bloodbaths and high-adrenaline pursuit scenes.

The plot follows a family reunion gone terribly wrong when two children wander outside the quarantined District 1 in London and make a discovery that is a double-edged sword, offering both the potential for a cure for the virus and a catalyst for re-infection. U.S. forces aiding Britain gradually lose control to the virus, and the safe zone dissolves into a state of entropic disaster.

Regrettably, the movie’s content suffers from the same disintegration.

“28 Weeks Later” is a literal film, lacking much of the social commentary of its predecessor and focusing more on the frenzied bloodshed of the viral outbreak.

Fresnadillo attempts to be metaphorical, filming through the chilling lenses of surveillance cameras and gun scopes, creating a tense paranoia between civilians and a methodical military presence.

Though creative, this style can be distractingly confusing.

Fresnadillo’s nauseating, claustrophobic cinematography, when extrapolated into the rest of the film, tends to feel like watching a sped-up version of “The Blair Witch Project.”

Meanwhile, the film has no particularly engaging characters. The family members make frustratingly foolish decisions (e.g. why don’t I look down this dark corridor by myself?) and the other main characters are a bit stereotypical. None of the characters simply have enough time for development in the film’s 99 minutes.

Though “28 Weeks Later” is at a glance more action-riddled, frightening and fast-paced than its predecessor, it is disappointingly hindered by its lackluster characterization and unattractive cinematography. You might want to wait another 28 weeks for the DVD to come out.

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