On the other hand, Fresnadillo does bring a fresh aesthetic to the film. It’s shot on grainy 16mm film, and we’re constantly watching the characters and events through CCTV cameras, sniper rifle scopes and from hovering helicopters. This constant point-of-view approach puts us inside the action, even when we would rather be somewhere else. They’ve also managed to achieve and sustain a sense of emptiness and isolation while shooting in a living London city, which is no mean feat (particularly considering the number of aerial shots in the film).
That said, the sequel is a far more one-track and derivative affair than Boyle’s original. Too often it swops suspense for gore, and fast paced action for human drama. 28 Days Later, like all of Garland and Boyle’s collaborations, had an intriguing moral and philosophical core around which the action turned. For Fresnadillo, the gore is the core, and the morality is just the icing on the cake.
Still, if you’re a fan of the zombie genre, you don’t get much slicker and scarier than 28 Weeks Later. You’d never guess this was Fresnadillo’s first horror film, from his uncanny ability to ratchet up both the tension and the terror. He has some help from a grimly effective score by John Murphy, and the equally gritty cinematography of Enrique Chediak, but it’s Fresnadillo that really holds the film on its relentless track.
So if you’re hungry for a bit of old fashioned blood ‘n guts, then 28 Weeks Later is your kind of movie. But you’d better have a strong stomach. Watching a husband gouge his wife’s eyes out or a family tearing each other apart are - to Fresnadillo - mere appetisers for the main event. And, like when you’re passing a terrible road accident, it’s awfully hard to look away.
- Alistair Fairweather
What it’s about:
It’s been over six months since the deadly "rage virus" swept through mainland Britain, turning millions of people into mindless, blood-spewing killers. With the help of US armed forces, the few remaining British citizens have begun to return home. What they don’t realise is that the virus still lurks amid the ruins of London, but in a form they could never have anticipated.
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