28 Weeks Later
Time Out says
No discerning zombie eats his dinner without an ample side of politics: race wrath in Land of the Dead, shopaholic satire in Dawn of the Dead, antiauthoritarian slackerhood in Shaun of the Dead. Kill the punner in me, but it’s a delightfully chewy subgenre. So the unique aspect of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, released at a SARS-scary moment, was its relative eschewal of finger-pointing. Environmental activists, not the Man, unwittingly loosed the “rage” virus, and the whole run-fast aesthetic owed more to Boyle’s Trainspotting and music-vid euphoria than anything else.
This slightly pedestrian sequel restores a more traditional zombie balance: Confident American troops, including doctor Scarlet (Byrne), hope to help Britain back on its feet, repatriating a small section of once-besieged London with civilians. But wouldn’t you know it: They’re not greeted with flowers. The persistent virus finds its way into the safe colony through a mutated carrier, who infects her husband (Carlyle); soon enough, it’s cut and run, surrender date now.
Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto) handles the action effectively, but like Boyle (a coproducer), he’s on firmer postapocalyptic ground when he punctures through the mechanics to a Britpop-scored dreaminess. When two kids escape the colony for a motorbike joyride, his movie soars into the stratosphere. Deserted streets will give Anglophiles a thrill, and Wembley Stadium, overgrown with wild grass, makes a chilling cameo at the end. The series has been finessed into an obvious setup for a third chapter; if they stick to lighthearted y-y tunes and the cooler arrondissements, it ought to be trs magnifique. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.)—Joshua Rothkopf