28 Months Later “In the Works”

Poster for 28 Days Later For fans of the original Danny Boyle directed and Alex Garland written 28 Days Later, this could be very good news. Certainly Facebook is full of fans singing their little rage filled hearts out at the recent news that Garland released stating that the script for 28 Months Later has been finished and is in the works but he will have nothing further to do with it.

Alex talks backstory a bit, not on the new 28 Days story but about the path taken to get a sequel worthy of the original. In GamesRadar+ the screenwriter talks about Boyle’s talking about a Garland written sequel while he focussed upon Trainspotting 2 a couple of years ago.

In reference to the Gamesradar+ story, it should be pointed out that they call the film a “zombie” film, which, technically it is not, the films are post-apocryphal and has nothing to do with hordes of the undead.

At that time Alex said he would write it but did not want any active participation in the project. Producer Andrew MacDonald said that he would take care of it. Regardless of whether the writer wants to work on the project, hopefully this sequel should have the same tones of originality that the first one had in spades. The other thing that 28 Days Later had was that wonderfully haunting music, used in a number of other movies, most notably Kick-Ass where the soundtrack was updated for the “Big Daddy Kills” sequence.

While many still refer to the first two as “zombie” films; the scary attacking people in the verse are not, undead flesh eaters. In 28 Days Later the whole outbreak starts because a few animal rights activists go to release monkies who have been infected with Rage. This virus actually turns the primates into screaming murderous, and enraged, creatures who only want to attack. The virus is transferred to people and poor Cillian Murphy wakes up from a coma to find the world in London has changed for the worse.

The first film was brilliant, the cross plot of the Christopher Eccleston’s Army Major, “I promised them women,” and the Brendan Gleeson’s doomed fatherly cab driver, “Get away,” were just icing on the cinematic cake. Naomi Harris and Megan Burns as the women rounded out the casting for this haunting and damned scary film. Boyle proved once again to be the master of celluloid.

Poster for 28 Weeks Later Then came the “star studded” 28 Weeks Later. Jeremy Renner, Rose Byrne, Idris Elba, Robert Carlyle and Imogen Poots, in what was her second feature film role, were stuck in an inferior version of Boyle’s and Garland’s Rage infested England. The first clue that this sequel would be lacking was the noticeable absence of both Boyle and Garland on the project. I liked the film because Carlyle was in it and he brought his own special magic to the role of the man who deserts his wife to the infected and then lies to his kids about it.

Jeremy Renner also made me a fan for life as the sniper with a heart and Idris Elba was not used enough. The story was a pallid follow up to the first film and it was a bit disappointing to not see anything of Murphy and Harris, or for that matter Burns, and their characters.

Apart from Garland’s admission that the script is standing by waiting to be greenlit, there is no further information about the project. Considering that the writer has also stated that no one, not even FOX were interested in doing another sequel after 28 Weeks Later does not bode too well for 28 Months Later.

If the film does get the go ahead, it is to be devoutly hoped that the studios do not forget the original premise and make the Rage infected attackers zombies. Let’s keep our film-lore straight here, this is not an English version of The Walking Dead. Hopefully more news will be released on the likelihood of this anticipated film being made, sooner rather than later.

The Walking Dead: Beth in Hospital and Not on a Plate

The Walking Dead: Beth in Hospital and Not on a Plate

A valuable lesson learned, after Bob’s unfortunate demise – but not before infecting the short-lived Terminus survivors with his “tainted” meat – was that reading too much into episodes of The Walking Dead leads to a lot of disdainful discussion and it is going to be hard to not minutely dissect Beth in the hospital and not being served up on a plate somewhere as barbecue. Before even thinking about looking in depth at the episode, two things immediately strike the viewer when watching Slabtown. One, Beth has managed to be introduced to a place just as evil as Terminus and the sub-plot of the show feels sneakily similar to the Brit “zombie” horror film 28 Days Later by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle.

28 Weeks Later (2008): Rage Squared

 

28 Days Later

I won’t lie. The main draw for me in this film was Robert Carlyle. I first saw him perform in Cracker he played a mentally unbalanced chap named Albie. He was completely believable in the roll.  I then saw him in the excellent Trainspotting, directed by Danny Boyle, playing the scary Begbie. I became a life long fan as a result of his performances in those two films. So when I saw that he was going to be in 28 Weeks Later, I knew I had to see the film. He was the only reason, because Danny Boyle would not be in the driver seat for this iteration of the Rage saga.

Unfortunately the  small cozy feel  that  28 Days had is gone. It has been replaced with literally  hordes of people. I personally think the film  suffers because of this. It’s scope is wider and encompasses a broader area. These elements along with having a different director, changes the pacing,  feel and  direction of the film.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo 28 Weeks Later starts with a couple, Don played by Robert Carlyle and Alice played by Catherine McCormack who are in a fortified farmhouse with four other people.  They are all essentially  trapped  and it appears that the Rage outbreak is alive and well and spreading across the country.

A horde of  infected  break into the house and start attacking everyone.  Don runs to the end of the hallway and climbs out a window.  He jumps down to the ground and looks up to see Alice looking out of the window and screaming for Don to help her. Don is in complete  flight mode, panicked and desperate, he runs to the river outside the farmhouse. Hot on his heels are hordes of infected and their number increases as Don gets near the river. At the river he gets in a motor boat and barely escapes the area.

28 weeks later, all the infected have starved to death. An American NATO task force has been dispatched to England to begin cleaning up the mess and repatriating people who were outside the country when the Rage epidemic swept the country. Alice and Don’s two children, Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) are among the first groups to be allowed back into the country. During a medical examination  Major Scarlet Ross (Rose Byrne) notices that Andy has different  one blue eye and one brown eye. Tammy and Andy explain that their mother also had different coloured eyes.
 Tammy and Andy  are reunited with their dad, Don. He lies and tells the children that he saw their  mother die.  Don also explains to the children that he is the head maintenance man for the safe zone and that he can access any area in the building.
Tammy and Andy  decide to sneak out and go to their old house to get some pictures of their Mother. They are seen by a sniper, Sergeant  Doyle (Jeremy Renner) who reports that the children have left the  area.   Once  the two children  get home  they find more than a picture,  they find Mum . Miraculously still alive she has somehow made her way back . Just as Mum and the kids find each other, the Army arrives and takes them all  back to the safe area. All three are placed in quarantine and Mum is separated from the children and has tests done to see if she is infected.
Both Tammy and Andy are furious with Dan and want to know what really happened. Dan is in a state of shock and says that the children have no idea what it like during the outbreak. He then goes to see Alice using his all area pass. Meanwhile Scarlett has discovered that Alice is carrying the virus but is not showing any of the symptoms.
Don enters Alice’s quarantine area and begs her to forgive him for  running away.  Alice  does and they share a kiss. As the saliva comes in contact with his lips, Don is instantly infected. The virus screams through his system and he kills Alice with his bare hands. Don then single handedly sets about infecting the safe zone.
At this point in the film we  sense that, like a house of cards, the safe zone is going to fall apart.  The virus shoots through the facility with the speed and violence of a tornado. Scarlett grabs Tammy and Andy and they make a run for it. Along the way they pick up Sgt Doyle and the small group try to get out of the now infected safe zone.
Throughout the rest of the film Don unrelentingly goes after Andy. I don’t know if this is because he shares his mothers  eye colours  or some other reason. It is never explained in the film. What is apparent however, it that just about every occupant of the safe zone is now infected. Before Doyle gets taken out of the picture by a flame thrower, another sniper  arranges  for a helicopter to collect the small group of survivors.
The film is very well paced, but I felt that Robert Carlyle was the most interesting thing in the film. That is not to say the film isn’t good, it just isn’t as great as the first one.  Losing Danny Boyle meant losing that sharp focus and intense feeling that 28 Days later had in spades.
Still if you are a Carlyle fan, it is worth the time spent watching the film just to see his performance.

28 Days Later…(2002) Don’t Get Mad

I will admit to becoming an instant fan-boy of director Danny Boyle after just one viewing of Shallow Grave (1994) and became a devout follower after watching (three times) Trainspotting (1996). So when I saw a trailer for 28 Days Later…  I could not wait to see the film. I knew Boyle would do a brilliant job in the Horror genre. The baby scene in Trainspotting so freaked me out that even after watching it three times, I had to cover my eyes half-way through. Unfortunately, I had to wait.

I had to because I worked nights, delivering newspapers. Six nights a week. So on my only day off, rather than see films at the cinema, I slept. All day. So  I had to wait for the video/DVD to come out and rent it. Even on the ‘small’ screen the film delivered. So much so that I bought the special edition DVD the minute it came on the market.

Boyle has taken the Zombie genre and shifted it slightly to the left. Because the zombies in 28 days Later…are not. They are mindless, they are going to eat you if they catch you, but, they are not dead.

28 Days later opens with multiple scenes of crowd violence and rioting in numerous countries. The camera moves back from the violence and we see a wall full of monitors all showing different forms of crowd violence. Strapped to a table in front of the monitors is a chimpanzee. The chimp has electrodes attached to it’s head. Three Animal Rights Activists break into the  animal testing centre where chimpanzees are  undergoing, what appears to be horrific tests.  The activists  are there to record for posterity the abuse the animals are receiving and to let the poor things go free. A lab technician tries to stop the activists explaining that they are all infected and highly contagious. The technician explains that all the chimps have been injected with an inhibitor called Rage. He also explains that it can be spread through saliva and blood.  The activist’s ignore his warning, and threaten him. The first poor creature they let loose  immediately attacks them. The activists are infected instantly.

28 days later bicycle courier Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes up in a hospital bed. He gets up and finds the hospital deserted. Leaving the hospital, he finds all of London is deserted.

So begins the film. 28 Days Later boasts a small cast. For a lot of the film we follow Jim, Selena (Naomie Harris), Frank (Brendan Gleeson) and Megan (Megan Burns) as they flee London and head for an Army safe haven they have heard about on the radio. Constantly on the look out for infected people and ready to run at a moments notice. It seems that Rage was very contagious, with most of the population either suffering from it or getting killed from the infected.  While the four are travelling cross country we bond with them just as they bond with each other. When they reach what looks like their destination, it appears deserted. The Army vehicles are empty, the outposts are deserted and civilian vehicles litter the motorway. Frank makes everyone stay put and he starts searching for people who are not infected.

He walks up to a pylon where a crow is pecking at a dead soldier. A drop of blood falls from the infected body and hits Frank in the eye. The change is immediate. He has gotten the Rage virus. As he moves to attack the remaining three people in his party, an shot rings out. The cavalry arrives in the form of a small rag-tag group of soldiers. They are lead by Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston) who after dispatching Frank gives the survivors a lift to where the rest of the soldiers are bivouacked.

The small group of Army men are using a deserted mansion that the soldiers have fortified against the infected.  When the small group arrive at the mansion the Major takes them on a tour of the house. They all begin to feel uneasy when, as part of the tour, the Major shows them one of his men who has been infected. They have chained him up behind the house for “observation.”  This “observation” seems to be the soldiers taunting their infected mate and beating him when he comes near. The uneasiness that the three feel is for a good reason. Unfortunately The soldiers have not saved all three of the group at all.  It is revealed that the only way the Major West could get the soldiers to stay was to promise them women. Jim is taken out to be executed and Selena and Hannah, who is only about thirteen, are taken upstairs to get ‘presentable’ as a prelude to gang rape.

Jim escapes his executioners and makes his way back to the mansion. Once there he lets the infected soldier loose. While the infected is rushing through the mansion to kill his former colleagues, Jim goes to rescue the two girls.

This film was an adrenaline pumping, heart stopping film. The music in the film helped to set the mood. Especially the use of In the House, In the Heart which has been used at least twice more in other films. The music makes us the audience feel sad, lost and, as I’ve said in another blog, slightly melancholy. The film was very low budget, but it doesn’t feel like a low budget feature. The actors all give brilliant performances and really help to sell the story.

If you were to make a list of Films that just have to be seen, 28 Days later …would be at the top of the list.