28 Weeks Later

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Anton Bitel's film review of 28 Weeks Later
28 Weeks Later

The commentary by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (director) and Enrique Lopez-Lavigne (co-writer/co-producer) is eloquent, informative and serious (anecdote free). For those who appreciate the horse’s mouth and what emits from it, this will not disappoint.

Both Spaniards speak good English, although it is virtually impossible to tell them apart, not that it matters. Neither is remotely boring, nor inarticulate.

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The Style of 28 Weeks Later borrows nothing from 28 Days Later, despite Danny Boyle’s involvement as second unit director. This time the filmmakers concentrate on reality, the family and survival. They don’t talk of zombies, only “the infected.” It is a subtle, yet vital difference.

Fresnadillo confesses to being “a real fan of submarine films,” which influences the way he shot the opening scenes in the locked down house, using a hand held camera and staying close to the actors. “The real challenge,” he says, “is to make the rest of the film better than this.”

There are only two Deleted Scenes, both important and quite long. The first is in the canteen with Robert Carlyle and the kids, immediately after he has told them what happened to their mother, when they meet the army doctor (Rose Byrne), and the second is when Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) runs away from Tammy (Imogen Poots) in the Underground and gets on a train where he finds his mum, or imagines he does.

Code Red is a conventional Making Of featurette, using talking heads of the director, producers, actors and production designer. Certainly, it is better than most, mainly due to the quality of the sound bites and overall intelligence on display. After the box office success of 28 Days Later, producer Andrew Macdonald and the DNA crew avoid the Hollywood maxim of “same again, with bigger explosions” and take a risk by inviting the Spaniards to head the creative team. It pays off. This is an infinitely better film and they talk about it, without showing off.

The Infected featurette goes into some detail about how the zombies – they don’t call them that – were trained and filmed – fast, with the cameraman running beside them. Byrne and Jeremy Renner, who plays a US Marine sniper, said the experience of being chased by these deranged, blood thirsty creatures was hilarious. The director, meanwhile, concerns himself with their rage (“Like animals”). The effect on the audience is chilling.

Getting Into The Action is exactly that. As a relatively low budget horror film which involves a virus that instantaneously changes a normal person into a savage killer after being bitten – the vampire theme, only magnified and speeded up – has to recreate an empty city and the violent response of the US military to suppress a resurgence of The Infected with awesome power. Shooting in London was not easy, Macdonald divulges, because of terrorist restrictions, not to mention the tight schedule. Fresnadillo’s calm and politeness towards his actors throughout is impressive.

28 Days Later:The Aftermath - Stage 1 and 28 Days Later: The Aftermath - Stage 3 are animated comic book strips that don’t seem to have anything to do with 28 Weeks Later.

Reviewed on: 29 Sep 2007
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28 Weeks Later packshot
Six months after the events of 28 Days Later a US-led force begins a tentative attempt to repopulate Britain.
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Product Code: 3557801000

Region: 2

Ratio: 1:1.78 (16.9) Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Audio commentary by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and co-writer/co-producer Enrique Lopez-Lavigne; deleted scenes; Code Red: Making Of 28 Weeks Later; The Infected featurette; Getting Into The Action featurette; 28 Days Later: The Aftermath - Stage 1 "Developement"; 28 Days Later: The Aftermath - Stage 3 "Decimation"; trailer

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