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28 Weeks Later (DVD)

Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, a couple of kids, a bigger budget and a horde of rabid zombies.

Rated: 18

Story: Mainland Britain is under quarantine thanks to the Rage virus. Once infected, victims go crazy within thirty seconds and start attacking anyone they can lay their teeth on. Thankfully (kind of), the virus has wiped itself out by killing pretty much the entire population. Rebuilding has begun, the American military has taken over, everything's going to be fine...

Comments: 28 Days Later was a slightly unusual zombie film. The apocalypse had pretty much been and gone before the story started, leaving deserted streets and the occasional fast, vicious zombie running about to leap out unexpectedly. There were no crowds of shuffling undead in sight. This made the film more haunting and scarier than certain other zombie films. It probably also made it a great deal cheaper.

The sequel has obviously had much more money thrown at it. This adds atmosphere on occasion, with characters wandering through vast empty stretches of London. Sometimes, though, it just means visual spectacle replaces inventiveness. 28 Weeks Later resembles Resident Evil - big explosions, hordes of zombies, a touch of moral dilemma and a nemesis that just will not go away. After the first few minutes, you pretty much know where it's going.

The first film unexpectedly changed tack about halfway through for some musings on human nature. Who's really evil? Scary, face-chewing zombies or scary, gun-wielding nutters who'd do anything to survive? The sequel poses the odd ethical question about the greater good but is really more interested in whether you've got enough popcorn.

Ach, it's predictable and a little silly but I liked it. Maybe that's just because it's set in Britain and so all the zombie mayhem feels closer to home. The strength of the first film was in making the viewer identify with ordinary people caught up in madness. It still pops into my head every so often, making me wonder what I would do if the whole world went down the tubes and friends could turn to monsters in a matter of seconds. Where would I go? How would I feel?

28 Weeks Later manages to retain something of that while adding more action. It's just not as original or memorable.

Conclusion: More entertaining to watch than the first one but with less to say.

Explosions: Like zombies. None for ages and then a whole load come along at once.
Gore: Some but I'm not sure how much - I was hiding behind my beer.
Tension: Lots.
Actual scares: Few.
Most important question to ask your double-glazing salesman: Is it zombie-proof?

Rating: 3/5.

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