28 Weeks Later

Dir: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Star: Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton, Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle

Six months after the events of the first film, the virus has indeed apparently died out, and Britain is being slowly returned, with rescue activities centered on the Isle of Dogs. There, return Tammy (Poots) and Andy (Muggleton), to be reunited with their father (Carlyle) - he tells them the sad story of how he watched their mother get killed by a pack of those infected with the Rage virus. However, it may not quite be the entire truth, as the kids find out when they sneak out of the quarantined area to return to their family home. Lob in the arrival of someone who has survived the plague, yet is still infected with it, and all hell is about to break loose, on both a personal and national level for our central characters.

I hated Fresnadillo's visual style, especially around the attacks by the infected. I thought Danny Boyle, in the original, overdid the waving of the camera around, and the director here chooses to ramp that up to near-epileptic levels. The results, as before, work for about thirty seconds and then become increasingly irritating. He alternates this with what seems to be deliberately distancing techniques, shooting from a long way off, and occasionally it's extremely effective; the sequence where the US military decides to take action is chilling, to say the least. You'll also remember the sequence where a helicopter is used as an offensive weapon - though didn't we also see this in Planet Terror? I kept finding myself distracted by the wonky London geography too, which sees the Isle of Dogs and Wembley Stadium apparently within a quick jog of each other. That I noticed such things, says rather too much about the film's failure to engage my heart and mind.

[May 2008]

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