I have seen my share of horror flicks over the years-including this film's predecessor, 28 Days Later-but I have never seen anything quite like 28 Weeks Later (rated R for language, strong violence, and sexuality). Calling it an unadulterated exercise in nihilism might be an understatement.
Throughout its hour-and-40-minute running time, every imaginable terror (and several I previously would have thought unimaginable) is visited upon the survivors of the Rage virus-a bit of germ warfare that turns humans into ravaging cannibals and leaves England a blood-soaked wasteland.
Picking up seven months after the last movie, the U.S. military has set up a containment zone from which to begin reconstruction. Though on-ground forces have determined that everyone infected with the virus died from starvation, they require the few survivors to remain within the confines of the secured area. Unfortunately, two recently arrived children have other ideas and bring about another recurrence of the Rage nightmare.
When it comes to basic plot points, there is little difference between 28 Days and 28 Weeks, yet, where the former incorporates some light in the midst of chaos, the latter revels only in revulsion.
Director Danny Boyle's 2002 film was by no means restrained in its goriness, but it was stylish, well-paced, and even occasionally hopeful. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the man at the helm of this story, extends all of the negative aspects of the earlier work without picking up on any of the positive ones. Here there is no hope. Husbands bludgeon their wives to death, fathers feast upon their children, and a blackness that lifts only long enough to reveal piles of rotting bodies frequently fills the screen.
This isn't to say Fresnadillo's work isn't effective. His frantic camera edits between these jarring images create about as near an approximation of hell as has ever been captured on film. If nothing else, as a Christian it was comforting to know that's as close to the real thing as I'll ever have to get.