28 Weeks Later (2007)

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Catherine McCormack, Imogen Poots, Mackintosh Muggleton. Jeremy Renner

Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Hooray for the return of the political zombie film! Undead overlord George A Romero may have sold out a bit with Land of the Dead, but the next generation of horror film makers has taken the torch of 'zombie movie as socio-political critique' and (literally) run with it… slavering at the jaws. First this year we had Mulberry Street, in which terrified New Yorkers are abandoned by their government to die a grisly death at the paws of mutant killer rats, and now we have 28 Weeks Later.

Robert Carlyle runs away in 28 Weeks Later

The film begins, unsurprisingly, 28 weeks after 28 Days Later left off. The crazed aggressive humans infected by the 'rage virus' have all died of starvation, and the few thousand survivors left have been rounded up and housed in palatial high rises on the Isle of Dogs. And the American army are in charge. Yup, the good ol' US of A has seen a desperate situation and charged in all guns blazing to take control – and it doesn't take an Iraqi war correspondent to tell you that they've bitten off way more than they can chew. The virus is wiped out? Ay right, and I'm George Bush…

No Cillian Murphy this time round (boo!). Instead we have Robert Carlyle as a man who survives a zombie attack by sacrificing his wife (Catherine McCormack) to the ravaging hordes – a decision he lives (for a very short time) to regret when his children return from quarantine abroad to find their mother hiding out in their old house. Yes, she's been bitten, but no, she's not mad. But yes, she's carrying the virus – right into the heart of the survivor colony.

Rose Byrne runs away in 28 Weeks Later

A bigger budget and bigger special effects can't make this sequel an improvement on the gripping and groundbreaking 28 Days Later: the characterisation is pretty weak and it's not actually that scary, but there's still plenty of manic running zombie action to keep you on the edge of your seat (and the helicopter carnage scene kicks some serious ass). However, it's the stunning shots of dead London that really make the film, with some awesome cinematography making the best use of the capital's eclectic architecture I've ever seen.

It's never going to be a classic like its prequel, but if you like your horror movies fast and frenetic and just a little bit thought provoking, then 28 Weeks Later will be just up your rat-infested alley.

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