+ "28 Days Later…": What initially looked like a write-off â€” a sequel in which neither the original film’s director or writer had any direct involvement beyond an executive producer credit, coming from Fox Atomic, whose titles thus far include "The Hills Have Eyes II" and "Turistas" and nothing else â€” is being heralded as a success and, possibly, that rare sequel that’s better than its predecessor. And what director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has delivered is no feel-good flick: as David Edelstein at New York describes it, the film is "is blistering and nihilisticâ€”a vision to reduce you to a puddle of despair… unlike the benevolent universe of Steven Spielbergâ€™s War of the Worlds remake, this one offers little hope for survival. Parents go in an instant from protecting their children to trying to munch on them, and no government rescue is forthcoming." "28 Days Later was a tough and uncompromising horror film," adds Jeremiah Kipp at Slant, "but it’s all sunshine and laughter in comparison to the sequel. The thesis of this film is that the War on Terror is ultimately a self-destructive one for all concerned, from the bullying authority figures to the demoralized combat soldiers to the fractured family units."
"If ’28 Days Later’ was, in part, about the emergence of solidarity in the midst of crisis, ’28 Weeks Later’ is about the breakdown that occurs in what seems to be the aftermath," observes A.O. Scott at the New York Times. Scott Tobias at the Onion AV Club also salutes "the films’ pervasive message about the breakdown of order: Given so little response time, it’s remarkable just how quickly society can slide into chaos. Under Fresnadillo’s assured direction, 28 Weeks Later blurs the line between genre entertainment and a photojournalist’s shots of the next urban catastrophe."
Nathan Lee at the Village Voice puts it this way: "On the one hand, 28 Weeks Later is a fable of the reconstruction; it might have been called Nation-building of the Damned. On the other hand, so what?" Glenn Kenny at Premiere agrees that "the analogs to certain international quagmires don’t bog down the
brutal momentum and doom-laden logic of the storyline, and 28 Weeks
Later shows some serious stones in pretty much overturning the hopeful
ending of the first film."
Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly likes the film, but is left with "the grim reality that a sequel, especially to a movie that once surprised, can never produce the same bite as the original. The genre twist is no longer so novel, the darkness of tone no longer so unnerving, the gaudy zombiedom no longer so tasty." Armond White at the New York Press, on the other hand, likes and resents "28 Weeks Later" while leaping on the opportunity to bash Danny Boyles original and then complain about the new aesthetic of modern action/horror films:
Above all, Fresnadillo aces what might be called the zombie movie aesthetic: his clear imagery is edited Tony Scott-fast, almost to the point of unintelligibility. Flashy shots, flickering lights, pandemonium rule. Incoherent action means itâ€™s all just for shock. â€œAh, man, this is FUBAR!â€ one G.I. cries when the new Rage Virus sends the military complex out of control. Thatâ€™s the aesthetic: FUBAR.