Boyle is an amazing filmmaker. He is also a very smart person. He knew how good the first 28 Days film was and actually had the conviction not to direct the sequel, deciding instead to pass the torch. Boyle gave the reigns to Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.
28 Weeks Later exceeds the original in every imaginable way. The movie is a perfect cacophony of sight and sound: visually stunning, frightening, haunting, disturbing, creepy, scary and very, very intense.
The story takes place 28 weeks later from when the first film left off. The infected have been eradicated, and London is in the process of rebuilding and repopulating, with the help of the U.S. military. As the refugees return, one person carries with them the virus, which is deadlier than ever.
The dashing Sergeant Doyle, played by Jeremy Renner ( North Country ) appears as a good-hearted soldier. Harold Perrineau of TV's “Lost” is Doyle's best friend.
Idris Elba ( The Reaping ) plays the stern General Stone. In a lesser movie, Stone would probably just be a two-dimensional stereotype: the general who represents the establishment in cliché fashion, giving us a villain to root against.
Elba is far too skilled of an actor. General Stone is not a bad man; he's just doing what has to be done. After all, the infection has no cure or inoculation, and left unchecked, could feasibly wipe out all life on the planet.
Hope comes in the form of a pair of kids who may hold the key to saving mankind. Twelve-year-old Andy (newcomer Mackintosh Muggleton) and his older sister Tammy (17-year-old Imogen Poots, V For Vendetta ) possess a genetic mutation, which makes them immune to catching the disease and therefore, invaluable to humanity.
The kindly military doctor Scarlet, played by Rose Byrne ( Troy ), is the first to figure out the immunity apparent in the children and realizes how valuable they are, as the source of a possible cure.
28 Weeks Later is a director's film: a film of singular and unique vision. An amazing feat for director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, especially considering that this is only his second feature film (his first was 2001's Intacto ) and his first ever English language film.
Fresnadillo took a few minutes to talk with Campus Circle about his amazing filmmaking journey:
This film is amazing. I salute how you picked up where Danny Boyle left off.
Thank you for the compliment. I am a big fan of the original film; so I was completely honored that Danny liked my first movie and offered me the chance to direct this film.
When I first received the invitation, I thought, “Why me? English is not my first language.” But Danny and the producers gave me complete freedom. The first film was a fantastic movie, but they really allowed me to create my own personal story in this landscape.
The scares in the film are tangible, and the horror aspect is truly horrifying. How did you achieve this level of intensity?
I approached the film as a journalist and shot it from that point of view. I wanted to bring realism to the story. Y
ou will see a lot of hand-held camera and a documentary style that makes it very real, bringing this world into the realm of possibility and a new dimension of feelings and emotions. So the realism makes the intensity.
This is a film about the human condition. It had to be real. There are no bad guys, there are no good guys. This is a story about people trying to survive.
This is your first English language film and only your second feature. Was it intimidating going into this project?
Oh, it was so intimidating! But as a filmmaker I must forget the legacy of the first film and just tell my own story [Fresnadillo also shares screenwriting credit on this film].
When I first got involved with this project, my English was not very good and so it was a challenge for me; but I saw this as a big opportunity and a big privilege: an opportunity to learn a lot and share with the audience what I learned. Ultimately, I see myself as a traveler and every movie is an adventure.
Talk about the look of the film, and your relationship with the Director of Photography [Enrique Chediak].
The light of Rembrandt was exactly what we were after, and that is exactly what we said to each other. He was crucial to the look of this film. He perfectly delivered. He made it with an amazing talent.
This is our first film together but I promise there will be more. He made it so real, so terrifying.
The best horror films don't just scare you. The best horror films touch you and leave you changed forever. 28 Weeks Later is a work of sublime genius.