Monday, January 28, 2008

28 Weeks Later

Oh, the humanity!

Back in 2002, British director Danny Boyle delivered the most spectacular and terrifying horror film for decades. 28 Days Later.

A genuinely scary horror flick, it was the tale of a killer virus called 'Rage,' unleashed on London and rapidly infecting the entire country.

'Rage' was a virus that drove you instantly crazy - turning you into a spitting, scratching, blood-spewing creature only interested in attacking and infecting anybody around you. A single bite, scratch or splash of saliva was all it took to pass the infection on and when it did, the 'Rage' would take hold of you within a few seconds.

It was a zombie movie unlike any other. These 'infected' weren't shambling corpses. They were fast, vicious and totally without mercy. The film had you on the edge of your seat as you prayed desperately for our uninfected heroes to survive.

And survive they did - and so successful was the low-budget horror flick that a much more ambitious sequel was released last year.

Last night, I saw it - and was mortified.

28 Weeks Later was a travesty. A beautifully filmed, beautifully acted movie with a script so shoddily written you could drive a Double Decker bus through the multiple plot holes. It was just utterly, utterly terrible. An insult to the first movie and an astonishing display of incompetence by scriptwriter and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.

Robert Carlyle, as the lead character, was entirely wasted. He got 'zombified' half way into the movie and the majority of his lines were snarls, grunts or spewed up mouthfuls of blood.

Much more promising was the utterly stunning 19 year old actress Imogen Poots, who played Carlyle's daughter. She spent most of the movie screaming and running from the infected, but she was utterly captivating and the only positive reason to see this dire film.

What annoyed me so much about 28 Weeks Later was the stupidity of the plot. In horror films, there's always some allowance for characters doing dumb things (Blonde: I'm going to investigate that strange noise in the cellar. On my own. In my bra and panties.) However, this was a privilege completely over exploited by Fresnadillo.

For example... Why don't the US troops post guards over an infectious, but cure-carrying patient they discover? Or at least lock the door - to prevent Robert Carlyle stumbling in and launching a whole new round of infections?

Or why are the US troops able to secure the Isle of Dogs from ravenous infected zombies, but can't prevent two kids sneaking out over a bridge?

What exactly is helicopter pilot Harold Perrineau's job? Why do his supervisors let him fly about the city doing whatever the hell he likes? Why is he willing to risk court martial and death to fly an infected teenager across the channel?

In fact, what miraculous fuel does his tiny helicopter run on? It apparently manages to fly from Wembley Stadium to the coast of France on a single tank!

And the US-led NATO task force itself? It's organisation of the recolonization of London brings two words to mind. 'Piss-up' and 'Brewery.'

It's a simply diabolical film - and somehow taints the memory of the original by merely watching it! It makes me think Juan Carlos Fresnadillo never even bothered watching the first one!

It's so utterly atrocious that it's surpassed the dreary and predictable Life of David Gale as my most-loathed movie of all time. By all means, buy or rent 28 Weeks Later on DVD - but only on condition that you burn the offending disc rather than let anybody sear their eyeballs watching it.

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