Movie Review: 28 Weeks Later Okay, I didn't want to watch this movie.

I kept putting it at the bottom of the dvd pile, until Lee said "It has to go back tomorrow. We have to watch it today." And I said "Alright." "Alright," I said. Stupid fucking me. Okay, it's been a half hour or forty five minutes since 28 Weeks Later ended and do you know how I feel? I imagine I feel how an animal in a slaughterhouse feels, its body flooded with horrible endocrinal jets of fear energy. It's almost enough to turn me into a vegetarian. No, a VEGAN! No, a FREEGAN! Oh fuck that shit. I'm a carnivore cradle to grave. BUT THIS MOVIE IS EVIL!! For those of you who live under a rock (or those of you who happen to be ivory tower intellectuals who don't sully your hands with the craptacular products of consumer culture like this movie) this is the sequel to the hugely popular and horrific 28 Days Later in which a virus (popularly dubbed "The Rage Virus") turns healthy individuals into frothing, flesh-starved zombies within moments of infection. 28 days is the amount of time it took the virus to destroy England. This first movie was pretty much a nonstop assault on one's nervous system and there is very little redemption. Parents eat children, children eat parents, priests eat parishioners, parishioners eat priests...well you get the idea. The movie has no room for a moral or moralizing in general. It's just the existential fucked state of mankind, exacerbated by a kill-or-be-killed environment where a second's hesitation is death. In other words, the usual human war. This sequel, 28 Weeks Later picks up exactly there. The zombies have killed everyone they could kill basically, then starved to death. Does it really make sense that in this rabid, psychotic-like state the zombies can always tell whom to bite and whom not to bite just by looking at them? Why don't they eat each other? Do they really taste that bad? It's sort of a dumb thing, and one is not supposed to ask that question I guess. Then again, maybe these zombies don't even eat; usually you just see them killing people. They're usually seen biting off big chunks of someone's neck or face, but maybe (like bad girls and boys) they don't swallow. Maybe the rage virus just makes you virulently attack people indiscriminately with no real reason (like hunger) at all, sort of like Republicans. SPOILER ALERT STARTS HERE: Anyway, this movie starts with a flashback to the days of the first infection with Robert Carlyle (playing even more of a bastard than his Begbie role in Trainspotting)keeping his wife and in-laws alive in a boarded-up house. They are discussing how glad they are that their children (son and daughter) were studying overseas when this virus broke out, that they are safe. No sooner is this said than they hear a young boy frantically pounding on the door and pleading to be let in. The infected are coming and an immediate argument ensues. Should he be let it worth the risk, yadda yadda. The wife's kindly heart prevails and they let the boy in. But the infected are not to be denied their meal and soon the house is being torn apart shingle by shingle, nail by nail. The in-laws are consumed and Carlyle's character, his wife and the boy retreat upstairs. These things leap at one with the speed of a cobra on the strike and are spewing blood from their throat every few seconds. It's quite a lovely picture. At a pivotal moment the man finds himself standing behind a door with a sturdy lock on it and his wife (sheltering the boy) is on the far side of the room completely vulnerable. She calls out to him but he slams the door shut and locks it. He escapes from the house as she screams for help, and then he races across a field

pursued by dozens of the creatures, looking back to see his wife standing in an attic window screaming. He escapes by motorboat to London where he is rescued, leaving his family behind for dead. Very grim, right? So now it's 28 weeks later and one portion of London is being recolonized, since presumably the infected have all starved to death. There are some spectacular shots of London as a ghost town (thank you computer graphics and 4:49 a.m. shooting schedules, no doubt). Shades of Bocaccio, shades of Poe's the Masque of the Red Death, these people have turned the fine art of immuring oneself into a science. So what goes wrong this time? The children are reunited with their father, who of course lies about what happened to their mother. He had no chance to save her. The children want to revisit their old house, which is in the Forbidden Land, so they escape the compound and return home. They find their mother alive in the attic still. She has survived, because she has a mutation which brought with it a concomitant immunity, a condition which may or may not be shared by her children. (The son has two differently colored irises, just like his mother). I won't explain the whole rest of the plot in detail, but suffice it to say Mother and Father do face one another and the reconciliation might not go the way you had hoped it would. In fact the whole movie descends right back into Hell. I imagine a lot of people find these movies very funny. I mean the grotesquerie and hopelessness gets to be so overwhelming you have to laugh here and there at some of the excesses of the grue thrown on the screen. There is a CLASSIC scene involving a helicopter that should win some sort of Gore Award. Are there Gore Awards (no, not Al's Nobel). I won't give you the ending, but you should know these movies don't really believe in human redemption or salvation, either morally or as in being saved from the horror. Think of how the Masque of the Red Death ends. Think of the last line that Poe writes in that story. That's pretty much the take both of these movies have on humanity-- that whether it's a virus or a monster or a big black Blob that comes to destroy humanity, it will ultimately be humanity that destroys itself in its typical irrational reactions to terror, fear and even suffering. Ironically, in these movies it's often perfectly wonderful (but irrational?) love for family or humanity in general which leads these characters on to courses of action which horribly worsen matters. This makes one wonder if this movie is really a favorite among cold-hearted scientific types, who laugh at how sentimental people who can't bear to quarantine their loved ones (or kill them) ultimately ruin it for all of us. Is this a disguised attack on the left by the right? Nah, that's giving movies like this too much credit. Probably every scene is designed purely on the basis of how much it can horrify or sicken you. In this, the filmakers had the tenacity of the best engineers. And maybe the movie's just saying "sometimes you're just fucked." If you're standing in the wrong moment of history, you're definitely fucked. Not deep but true. I shouldn't pretend this movie is an intellectual exercise. It's not. Your adrenal glands will get the workout...and your heart and everything else that responds to that hormonal pumping. And believe me, you will probably be pumping it out.

Oh, the acting. Well the zombies did a great job of being zombies. How hard is that to do? They probably just coked them up at the craft table. Carlyle made you hate him, which was all well and good. The two actors playing the son and daughter were the real finds. Both were really great in this. The girl is gorgeous...rather like a cross between Scarlet Johannsen and a young Rebecca de Mornay. I spent the first twenty minutes of the movie thinking the son was a second daughter though. I blame the haircut. I think the ending of the movie is just an extension of how the British feel about the French anyway. See if you agree if you watch this bag of tripe and gore and bad adrenaline rushes. Ugh. I'm going to go wash my brain now. Where is a movie with fuzzy bunnies in it? copyright W.B. Keckler. Feel free to reproduce if you credit me.