31 Days Of Hallowe'en: 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Welcome to JOE's 31 Days Of Hallowe'en. For each and every day of October, we'll be bringing you a horror movie to tuck into for the lead up to the big night. It could be new, old, an undiscovered gem, or a classic you'll have seen a thousand times. No matter what it is, we guarantee you that it is brilliant, and it is SCARY.
For Day 11, we'll be looking back over 2007's underappreciated sequel but profoundly brilliant gem, 28 Weeks Later.
"When days turn into weeks..."
Much like Scream 2, this horror sequel is sometimes viewed as being far inferior to the movie that came before it, but unlike Scream 2, the audience were right to initially be weary of it.
Both Alex Garland and Danny Boyle, the writer and the director of the original, did not return to 28 Weeks Later because they had moved on to the sci-fi movie Sunshine. Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris had similarly been tied up in other projects. So producers were left with this brilliantly realised world and nothing from the original to fill it with.
Instead of turning out a cheap-and-easy cash-in sequel, they hired a talented director in the form of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (his only previous movie was the Spanish-language mystery thriller Intacto) and hired a very impressive cast including Jeremy Renner, Idris Elba, Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle and Imogen Poots, and laid on a very smart subtext.
For anyone who hasn't given it a chance yet, 28 Weeks Later more than lives up to its predecessor.
Clip via FoxHomeEntertainment UK
Following on from the more-or-less complete annihilation of the United Kingdom in the aftermath of the initial outbreak (we're still not calling them zombies, for whatever reason), the USA have come in to save the day and restabilise the government and all forms of infrastructure.
However, when the uneasy bridge back to a healthy way of life is smashed following a new outbreak, it turns out that the US army might pose an even bigger threat to the native survivors than the Not Zombies ever were...
Yep, this is a horror movie as war parable, specifically the Iraq War this time around, filled with some amazing performances and some truly terrifying set-pieces, in particular the one with the husband slowly being turned into a We're Still Not Calling Them Zombies in front of his wife while they're both locked into one small room with no ways of getting out.
Despite being well received by critics (71% on Rotten Tomatoes), the downturn in box office ($64m worldwide compared to $85m of the original) and an issue with the ownership of the rights to the series means we will probably never get to see a 28 Months Later, which is a real shame.
Check out our previous recommendations below:
Day 2 - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre