28 Weeks Later.

On May 11, the sequel to the surprise hit “28 Days Later” will reach theatres. For those who are unfamiliar with the original film, “28 Days Later” is a sci-fi horror film starring Cillian Murphy in his breakthrough role as a survivor of an artificially created-virus that reduces living beings into violent, zombie-like beings called “The Infected” and the survivors’ need to survive against the Infected and each other.

“28 Days Later” explores a Great Britain that has been entirely ravaged by the Infected within a span of just 28 days and the aftermath of the chaos as survivors try to stay alive. In the last film, we learned that the Infected eventually died off from starvation and from their inability to survive after lasting for about 28 days without food. At the same time, we learned that there were countries that were relatively unscathed from the original plague that destroyed the United Kingdom in “28 Days Later”.

The sequel aptly titled “28 Weeks Later” takes place about 7 months since the events of “28 Days Later”. In the previews, the story still takes place in an alternate 2003, where the United States has taken the initiative in occupying Great Britain and slowly repopulating London with the few remaining survivors. We learn that the majority of the population in Great Britain that numbered approximately 60 million has been reduced to just thousands.

After 28 weeks since the infection, the United States has declared Great Britain to be free of the Rage infection and has divided London into a Green Zone, where survivors are placed in apartment blocks and regularly tested for the Infection, and Red Zones, which are areas still rife with disease, corpses and being cleaned up by the military.

The film opens with a blistering infected attack on a group of survivors during the events of the original film. Title cards give us a timeline following the starvation and demise of the infected. Cut to… (drum roll) 28 weeks later: With the virus seemingly gone, authorities have turned London into a military zone and are beginning the process of repopulation. Survivors are checked in through medical tests and background procedures before being herded into apartments in temporary “safe zones”. It is here, we assume, that all hell will break loose. Robert Carlyle (in top form) takes on the role of the tortured protagonist who is trying to rebuild life with his family, and the gritty hand-held style of the original perfectly sets up the ruined aftermath of the infected apocalypse.

However, things are not what they seem as the Americans discover a potentially infected woman and proceed to contain the situation. Regardless of their actions, the virus spreads once again amongst the population and it is up to the military to use lethal force to contain the situation. Currently there is speculation among bloggers and netizens as to who is the carrier of the Rage virus.

Most have suggested that it is the missing wife of Robert Carlyle’s, who is currently chained in a military facility and shows signs of bite marks. The trailers lend credence to this theory as it shows the character’s corpse riddled with blood before being scorched by fire and they show her and Robert Carlyle’s character kissing in the facility as well.

Others have pointed out that Robert Carlyle’s character, Don, does not show up in the remainder of the movie trailer with the exception of the flashback sequences and the beginning of the film. This suggests that Don and his wife were also running from the Infected around the same time as the heroes in “28 Days Later” with Don believing he lost his wife in the chaos. It’s strongly implied that the wife starts showing symptoms of the Rage virus and infects Don as they are about to kiss in the military facility due to the large amount of infected blood that remains in the wife’s corpse according to the trailers.

There are also hints that the infection begins in the military facility since one of the original soldiers observing Don’s wife shows up as an Infected terrorising the children in another scene. It would be interesting to learn that Sir Robert Carlyle, best known for the “Full Monty”, “Trainspotting” and playing Hitler, is one of the first characters to get killed off to get the movie going.

The trailers indicate that “28 Weeks Later” was shot in Digital Video (DV) like its predecessor and possibly in High-Definition to an extent. The decision to film in DV like the original film gives almost a documentary-like feel to it as well as adding a sense of realism with the events playing out in the film. If this film is as successful as the original, the director suggested that there maybe a sequel since the Infected somehow make it to Continental Europe to set up “28 Months Later”? At least Tony Blair never got the chance to ruin the “28 Days” Britain like he did in real life.

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Release Date: May 11, 2007