28 Weeks Later
- No Rating Available
This particular British zombie mess started in 28 Days Later when animal-rights activists—more concerned about the forced captivity of a diseased monkey than with the wellbeing of the populace of London—broke into a lab and set frothing animals free. Their actions unleashed a rage-inducing virus upon the world. Within weeks, London was decimated.
The sequel starts with a group of survivors who are hunkered down in a boarded-up cottage during the siege. Everyone apparently dies except for Don, who leaves his wife, Alice, behind in an act of cowardice. Flash forward 28 weeks. The plague is over and the U.S. Army has been called in to help clean out the dead and rotting, and take control of the repopulation effort. People are allowed back into a place called Dog's Island.
It just so happens that Don is on the island now, too. He has found his way to a position of authority and oversees the infrastructure of the "green zone." When Don's kids, Andy and Tammy, arrive (they were in a refugee camp in Spain) he explains to them how their mom was killed. But he hopes that they can put it behind them and be a happy family. And they are—for an hour or two, anyway.
The kids sneak out, slip past the military containment and leave the safety of the island to journey back to their old house. The want to find keepsakes and pictures of Mom. Instead ... they find Mom. Alice has been bitten, but it seems that she has a rare genetic ability to resist the virus's rages.
Seeing as how this is a horror film, it soon becomes clear that she's the one who restarts the epidemic. And the only hope for humanity is to get Andy and his genes (he's probably resistant too) safely to a place where doctors can develop a vaccine.
Sergeant Doyle is one of the military snipers stationed on rooftops to protect the green zone. When ordered to open fire on the people below, he does so with anguish. He spots Andy running in the street and decides to help the boy. He gathers a group of innocents together and tries to lead them to safety. A helicopter pilot named Flynn is good friends with Doyle, and he repeatedly tries to rescue him.
A military doctor, Scarlet, determines that Andy's blood could be the key to a vaccine and she sticks closely by the children to protect them from harm. She and Doyle both choose to risk and give up their lives to protect the kids. Alice runs from safety to try to help a strange boy.
Tammy is a teenager who takes responsibility for her younger brother's safety, telling him they'll stick together no matter what.
The soldiers use their riflescopes to spy on people. They (and we) see a nude couple having sex, and the soldiers talk about watching a man masturbate. Don and Alice kiss. When Alice is found and taken back to military headquarters, she is scrubbed down—naked—in a shower.
Once a person is exposed to the virus (transmitted through any bodily fluid) he or she immediately flies into a blood-spewing, rabid rage, biting, clawing, chewing and gouging anyone nearby. This bloody activity is constant throughout the film.
Tammy goes through the pockets of a corpse. Don watches as Alice is accosted by zombies and bitten. Andy has a nightmare of his mom ripping off her own face. Don, in zombie form, bites out Alice's throat and gouges out her eyes with his thumbs. He also beats a woman in the face with a rifle stock, and attacks and bites numerous people including his own screaming son.
A man falls to his death from a flying helicopter. We watch snipers pinpoint and take out numerous targets (with headshots). Automatic gunfire is used on groups of people. The military proceed through three steps: 1) Kill only the infected. 2) Contain the area. 3) Kill anything that moves. By the last step, crowds of people are shown being carpet-bombed, gassed with chemical agents and incinerated by flame throwers. Flynn mows down a field full of zombies with his helicopter blades. (We see dismembered body parts and cleaved heads.) Piles of dead bodies (in body bags) are burned. We watch a close up of a needle puncturing a vein.
[Spoiler Warning] Tammy is forced to shoot and kill her own father.
Crude or Profane Language
The f-word leads the profanity pack with over 30 uses. The s-word follows with about 10. "H---" and "b--tard" are in there, too, along with a vulgar reference to female anatomy. God's and Jesus' names are each blasphemed twice.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A group of survivors pours wine with dinner.
Other Negative Elements
Don lies to his kids about his part in their mother's "death." Tammy and Andy disobey and disregard their father and the rules governing the community. A boy talks of being chased and attacked by his parents, who are now zombies.
This downhill free fall of jittery, handheld cinematography is accompanied by shocking, splintering, thundering sounds and music crescendos. Its recipe for disaster: In a giant, gore-streaked bowl, mix together scores of slavering zombies and panicked civilians, spoon in a high-powered military to fire-bomb and mow down every living thing, and top with two kids so that we can watch them suffer terribly.
It's no surprise that this zombie flick is awash with tanker-truck loads of half-coagulated blood. It's also no surprise that a zombie movie might have some kind of social commentary lurking beneath its decomposing surface. You don't have to dig far to find this one: We're offered a cynical political statement about America's real-world military efforts through portrayals of overconfident officers, incompetent handling of security and the inhumane slaughter of innocents.
There are two characters we actually care about. We want to see Sergeant Doyle and Scarlet make it through. Not because we know anything about them, but simply because of their acts of selfless heroism made in an effort to save the two kids and, hopefully, humanity. In a rare moment of rest, Scarlet turns to Doyle and says, "Their lives are far more valuable than mine ... or yours." Doyle readily agrees. (The kids, on the other hand, aren't so endearing. They started this whole fiasco.)
But 28 Weeks Later starts bloody, runs bloody and ends bloody. By the time a rabid Don crushes his wife's eyes like two over-ripe grapes, the meager positives of the film seem far away indeed. What was the scariest moment for me? It was during the closing credits when I realized that the weak, open-ended finish probably meant there'd be another sequel.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Catherine McCormack as Alice; Robert Carlyle as Don; Jeremy Renner as Sergeant Doyle; Rose Byrne as Scarlet; Imogen Poots as Tammy; Mackintosh Muggleton as Andy
Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ( )