Posted by: Jack | July 17, 2007

28 Weeks Later

Last night was our first time going to the theater for a movie in quite a while. I had thought pretty highly of 28 Days Later and had heard that this sequel would not disappoint. Unfortunately, I found that it did just that but I can understand why it might get high reviews.

I’m pretty sure there were three ways to appreciate the first film.  It’s cinematic style was very unique (captured in digital format) and the decision to spend a vast majority of the budget on renting areas of the UK rather than big name actors and special effects was a successful far cry from a majority of modern movies. The second positive trait, and in my opinion most significant, was the exploration of human nature in a survival situation. The virus works in such a way that every survivor has to be weary of every other survivor and must be willing to kill their closest friend on a moment’s notice. The third appreciable characteristic is the movie’s success as a horror/gore flick. In the past five years, movies featuring excessive horror and gore have seemed to outnumber all other films by about five to one.

In a number of reviews I read regarding the sequel, it was said that this next film provided even further exploration into what it means to be human. And it did indeed confront this subject in some ways, most of which were far more optimistic than the first movie’s approach to the same issue.

But like I said, I was disappointed overall. The most accurate review I’ve found said “Exhaustively terrifying.” Throughout the entire film, the viewer is kept on edge and teased into thinking that every second something shockingly scary is going to occur. In fact within the first five minutes, I had to pry Anna’s fingernails out of my arm; she doesn’t especially enjoy horror flicks. In addition to this routine scariness, the movie was filled with a fair amount of gore. And this is what I think got it the rave reviews. Although such movies are released almost weekly, people apparently can’t get enough of the unimaginable torture and violence. Personally, I can’t stand to watch such traumatic gore even when it’s fictional.

What really made the movie lose credit for me was a number of scenes which were clearly inserted to appease the masses. I don’t want to give anything away but if you’ve seen the first movie, you’ll recall a scene involving the main characters thumbs and an infected persons’ eyes. In the sequel, the scene is replicated but an infected person is the one inflicting the injury on an innocent victim. The second biggest deviation is that a main character becomes infected but seems to retain a sense of purpose, continually tracking the other main characters with unexplained consistency and persistence. Both of these ideas just don’t make any sense with what we’ve come to know about the virus.

I have no problem with a movie like House of Wax, featuring Paris Hilton, selling out and being loaded with weak plot turns, irrelevant scenes and whatever else. But when a movie like 28 Days Later comes around and sets a standard by avoiding all of these afflictions, why would anyone want to sully the series by selling out with the sequel?

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