28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later (2007)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Robert Carlyle, Catherine McCormack, Rose Byrne
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Animated Chapters, Trailer

When "28 Days Later" first hit theaters and home video, a lot of horror fans were surprised by the visceral impact the movie had and how it evolved the zombie genre. While not a zombie film in the strictest of senses, the themes were very similar with an infection of undead people spreading and each of them with only one thing on their mind – the instinct to kill every human being within sight.

Now, the Rage continues in the sequel "28 Weeks Later." I admit that I was a little reluctant about the film before I saw it but I was captivated form the first few moments because the filmmakers immediately conjure up imagery of the first film and its violently in-your-face style.

28 weeks after the outbreak of the Rage virus in Britain, the island is safe again. All the infected have starved and the disease has been eradicated with them. Under the watchful eyes of US troops, gradually British residents are allowed to return to their home country but are concentrated on a small district within London, as the fear of the disease is still looming.

Only days after allowing the first people back into the danger zone, a survivor from the original bloodbath is found. A woman, who is seemingly resilient to the Rage virus and could be the key to finding out its nature and protect mankind from the threat of future outbreaks. But before anyone has time to create a proper protocol Hell breaks loose yet again and the Rage virus once more takes hold in the people on the island.

Overall the story is plausible and makes for a great sequel to the original movie but sadly it is small details that throw off the believability of the film. No one would even consider allowing civilians back into the zone of the Rage outbreak after such a short period of time, only a few weeks after the last infected person has been killed. And what about the rotting corpses lying around everywhere? No public health official would sign off on that either and allow people to walk the streets where now not only Rage but a plethora of other diseases could spread in no time.
And then, of course the biggest hiccup of the film, the ridiculous suggested link between the Rage immunity and the color of people's eyes. If having two different colored eyes were the key to immunity there would be a lot more survivors in the entire British Isles than just one because it is not nearly as rare a condition as one might believe. In addition, I simply find the connection a little far-fetched.
Add to that one particular Rager who seems to be capable of slipping through every security post, every fence, every wall and locked door and who seems to have the hunting instincts of a bloodhound, and you see that sadly the film could have used a bit more thoughtfulness.

These things aside however, "28 Weeks Later" is every bit as kinetic and suspenseful as its predecessor was. The manic camera work and the sprinting undead make for a number of amazing scenes, and since everyone is constantly on the run – literally – the film gives off a lot of energy throughout. The no-holds-barred gore and splatter ensures that hardcore fans will be pleased also as we race through this nonstop carnage. The filmmakers also tried to create a number of memorable moments by using absolute darkness as a key element for scares and it works, The prospect of being locked up with hundreds of other people in a pitch black room, only to find that the Rage virus is spreading amongst them is simply terrifying. The sounds, the shrieks of agony and pain, the guttural grunts of the undead and – supposedly – the smell of panic, blood and guts in the air would be enough to drive anyone over the edge, I have no doubt.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is now delivering a high definition version of "28 Weeks Later" on blood-curdling Blu-Ray Disc. The result is every bit as amazing as you would expect it to be. Given the nature of the film and the deliberate grittiness of the images, one would expect a high definition presentation that would be a mixed blessing. But not so! The image is razor sharp and the grain found in the picture is reproduced perfectly to create this incredibly harsh look of the movie. Instead of fuzzing up the picture the grain is so sharply defined that it is essential to the presentation. There are scenes, of course, where the filmmakers went for a very clean and smooth look and these sequences are equally nicely reproduced. The colors are rich and vibrant, creating a world that looks devastatingly desolate, yet at the same time shows signs of life sprucing up. Black levels are amazing in the transfer making sure the film reproduces the full contrast range of the original imagery with deep solid blacks and well-defined shadows.

To increase the visceral impact of the film, this Blu-Ray Disc also comes with a 5.1 channel DTS HD Master track that is encoded losslessly. As we all know by now, things just don't get any better than lossless audio and with that in mind, this track has been designed for maximum impact. Expect your bookshelves to rattle, your walls to shake when you run this track at a decent volume. The brutal bass extension and the dynamic range of the track will make you jump out of your seat more than once, giving you every bit of nerve wrecking entertainment you have been seeking when you picked out this disc.

Presented on a dual-layer disc, the release also offers up a number of cool bonus materials, starting with a commentary track by director/co-writer John Carlos Fresnadillo and co-producer Enrique López-Lavigne. This Spanish-born filmmaker may not have a Hollywood track record but he managed to capture the essence of the first film perfectly and tapped into it with such raw energy that the resulting film is quite an experience despite its shortcomings. The commentary offers more insight into the process and is recommended to all fans of the film.

You will also find some deleted scenes with optional commentary on the disc, together with tow featurettes, entitled "Code Red: The Making Of 28 Weeks Later" and "The Infected." Both of them are exciting and thrilling and well put together to offer additional insight. The same is true for the featurette "Getting Into The Action" which takes you onto the set, right in the midst of the shooting of the film and the frenzy going on there to create the kinetic scenes for the film.

The disc is rounded out by two animated chapters from "28 Days Later: The Aftermath" and the film's theatrical trailer.

I found that "28 Weeks Later" got my adrenaline pumping in a heartbeat. Not three minutes into the film and I was hooked. The story may have a few holes but overall the movie is a powerful entry in the horror genre and a worthy sequel to Danny Boyle's original shocker. The high definition version that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is delivering here is worth every penny, I promise you that.