28 Weeks Later (DVD)

28 Weeks Later DVD (click for larger image)Starring Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Amanda Walker, Shahid Ahmed

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Distributed by Fox Home Entertainment

When news of Fox Atomic broke we were all pretty stoked! A genre specific subsidiary of one of Hollywood’s biggest studios making horror movies?!? Oh hell yeah! Then their first three films were announced — Turistas (review here), The Hills Have Eyes 2 (review here), and 28 Weeks Later. Honestly I was excited about all but one of them — 28 Weeks Later. It just seemed needless. My hopes for the film began steadily dropping farther into the toilet after Turistas and Hills 2 ended up horrendously sucking. By the time this flick dropped I went into the theatre expecting an action packed brainless infected romp void of all style or substance. You know, something the opposite of 28 Days Later. What I got was a film that nearly blew me out of the theatre.

The story picks up exactly 28 weeks after (duh) the events of the first film. All the victims of the dreaded Rage virus have starved to death and as a result authorities have begun repopulating the cities. Survivors were few and far in between but one of them, a man named Don, (Carlyle) was all set to get his family back together sans his wife who was thought to have died in the tragedy. Upon receipt of his son and daughter the reunited unit begin settling into their new digs. Everything was fine at first, but the kids just couldn’t leave well enough alone (Reason # 87 to not have children). Together our young duo set out to revisit their old home to bring back some of their stuff including anything that reminds them of their mom. The twosome get a lot more than they bargained for. While at the old house they find their mother alive, yet their is no joy to be had because the woman is infected — but not enraged. Could her immunity be a sign of a cure? Of course not! This is a horror movie, not a Lifetime original picture! It’s not long before the Rage virus is unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace and the results are bloodier, and scarier than they were in the first film.

28 Weeks Later DVD (click for larger image)There I said it. 28 Weeks Later is one of those rare instances in which the sequel completely outshines the original. There are scenes and shots in it set up by director, Fresnadillo that are some of the most insanely nerve racking things ever put to film. The film’s climax shot in part through the night vision scope of a gun had me white knuckled and gripping the arm rests of my seat. And don’t even get me started about the helicopter scene. Holy shit! What we have here, folks, is nearly two hours of madness that is pretty much guaranteed to leave you gasping for air and steadying your heart.

The flick is not without its faults though. There are a couple of nagging plot lines that drag things down a bit such as the lead infected taking the whole Jaws: The Revenge approach to stalking his victims. He’s always there and you cannot help but chuckle a little bit at the absurdity of it all. Other than that and a few other minor gripes, this is a solid fucking film.

It’s also a way solid DVD. Fox has scored again by delivering a package just as good as the movie itself. Things kick off with a commentary by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and producer Enrique Lopez Lavigne. Honestly, this track is a bit on the dull side as neither party exhibits much excitement, or personality for that matter, when discussing the film. Listen if you’re a commentary buff, but everyone else may want to sit out this dance.

Next up is a thirteen minute making-of featurette titled, Code Red: The Making-of 28 Weeks Later. Fresnadillo and Lavigne are a lot more lively here than they were in the commentary. Joining them are various cast and crew members including director Danny Boyle (who now serves as producer). Everything you would expect to be discussed is pretty much included here, such as the original ideas for the film and the road to getting things to where they eventually ended up. An interesting watch for sure.

28 Weeks Later DVD (click for larger image)From there we get a featurette on the real stars of the movie titled, The Infected. This seven minute look briefly but effectively covers our favorite rampaging flesh-eaters and gives us a little insight on what it takes to be infected. This leads us to a seven minute long featurette about the many stunt sequences of 28 Weeks Later (including that mind blowing helicopter scene I mentioned earlier) called, Getting into the Action, and that’s pretty much it for all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

But wait! There’s a bit more …

We also get two deleted scenes with optional commentary that clock in at about five minutes combined. The first is pretty much a throwaway but the second is truly stellar. Without giving away any spoilers let’s just say that it focuses primarily on mother and son. Though emotionally charged and even a bit heart wrenching this scene didn’t fit into the movie at all where it was originally planned as it would have grounded things to a halt. Still, it’s great to see it included here. Finally we get a trailer, and then the coolest fucking thing on the disc — two fully animated and acted comic strips that bridge the gap between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. Known in print form as 28 Days Later: Aftermath (comic book review here), this piece of work from the great Steve Niles is the perfect compliment to the films. Having this available as an electronic comic rocks beyond words! Right on Fox! Good stuff!

Will we ever see a 28 Months Later? I think that’s a pretty good bet. If the same standard of quality can be upheld it would be a worthy and welcome addition to this rapidly growing mythos. For now though, these two films can provide veiwers with one hell of a scorching double feature. Get infected!

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and producer Enrique Lopez Lavigne
  • Code Red: The Making-of 28 Weeks Later featurette
  • The Infected featurette
  • Getting into the Action featurette
  • Deleted scenes with optional commentary
  • 28 Days Later: Aftermath: Stage 1 – Development electronic comic
  • 28 Days Later: Aftermath: Stage 3 – Decimation electronic comic
  • Trailer
  • Film:

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    4 1/2 out of 5

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    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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