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I must admit that when i saw the original movie, 28 Days Later... (2002) which i reviewed then, i was not entirely thrilled by the new twist on the Zombie genre. I didn't click with that movie and felt unsatisfied in many ways. I think that most hard core George A. Romero fans felt the same way and did not receive the main elements of this film well. Comparisons with the original Living Dead trilogy (Living Dead 1, Night Of The Living Dead, The (1968) , Living Dead 2, Dawn Of The Dead, The (1978) and Living Dead 3, Day Of The Dead, The (1985)) were unavoidable.
- First, Zombies were no longer supernatural things, but the by-product of a failed and dangerous biological experiment. As a result, the hopeless and unfightable nature of the original movies were no longer present. We came from a metaphysical phenomenon to an Armageddon that human kind brought unto itself.
- Second, Zombies were now furiously fast beings, and the transformation almost instantaneous. This was perhaps the most controversial new idea that the film brought on. I thought about it and although i thought it could have been put to good use to increase the fear and tension, it didn't work as far as i was concerned. In the original movies, your demise came out of a desperate fight where you ultimately lost, even if zombies weren't much of a kinetic threat at all. You could always escape and you eventually dies because of stupidity or abandon, not because they can run faster than you.
- Third and finally, the movie centered too much on human dysfunction, rather than societal dysfunction as the original movies did, and definitely did not exploit the horror element of a Zombie flick enough. The focus on surviving in a hopeless world was a driving force of the original movies, whereas in the new one, survival until help arrives (it can be fixed) is the driver.
All of those things conspired against me enjoying the first of the "28" movies. Frankly, although a lesser movie, i enjoyed Dawn Of T he Dead (2004)
(yes, the remake) a whole lot more. But then i read some really good reviews for the sequel, this movie. So i gave it a try. And boy, i really liked it. The terror was much more palatable and finally, the speed element was an integral part of the fear. The breakneck rate at which the infection spread, and the furious speed of all infected, was put to great use here. A great idea in this film (SPOILER ALERT) was that resistance to the virus would actually not prevent contagion. Although also the source of a major plot hole in this film (how can a top military medical staff not envision that possibility and quarantine subjects appropriately?), it reintroduced a sense of hopelessness. Even if all traces of the virus were thought to have been eliminated, it managed to come back.
There are several clear landmark scenes of terror in this film and some of the tension and mood of the original films have resurfaced. The music is unnerving and so effective. The film is overall very well done and a great update of the genre while regaining some essence of what that genre is all about. This is a superior Zombie movie.
- Laurent Hasson