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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 01:41 am

Who are the monsters?

You may end up rooting for the zombies

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Untitled Document I wasn’t a big fan of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, an apocalyptic vision of the near future in which a virus has turned most of the world’s people into frenetic zombies. For me, this was simply an exercise in gore, and I just can’t abide zombies who run the 100-yard dash in eight seconds. Give me the old-school shuffling kind any day. Fortunately, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has much more on his mind than a simple rehash in his sequel 28 Weeks Later, a ferocious cautionary tale for our times. There’s gore galore to keep fans of the genre happy, but there’s also grist for the viewer’s cerebral mill. Set 28 weeks after the end of the first film’s initial breakout, things are still in chaos; families have been separated and society as we know it has disappeared. Don (Robert Carlyle) has seemingly lost everything, having left his wife, Alice (Catherine McCormack) and small child to be a monster meal. His older children, Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) and Tammy (Imogen Poots), were out of the country during the initial outbreak, but now that they’ve returned to England they have more than a few questions about the whereabouts of their mother and are less than happy with the answers Don provides them. Soon these precocious kids sneak into the forbidden zone to look for Mom and personal treasures. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Alice shows up alive and well. She’s soon quarantined by U.S. authorities, who think that she may carry an antibody to the rage. Once all hell breaks loose, it’s hard to tell just who the real monsters are. You can forgive the rage-fueled zombies for ripping your flesh off, but the American “peacekeepers” who kill people indiscriminately have no excuse. The parallels to the war in Iraq are inescapable here, with innocent Londoners caught between the Americans and the “insurgents.” This is a horror movie that will turn your stomach at the same time it engages your brain. 
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