Theo Elliott’s review published on Letterboxd:
28 Weeks Later serves as a sequel the incredibly eerie and polarising 28 Days Later. However, it doesn’t manage to have the same charm of its predecessor from its boring characters and it’s odd narrative choices.
The film opens with what is the best sequence of the film, with a group of survivors holding up in a small cottage by a river. We are introduced to Robert Carlyle as Dom and his wife Catherine McCormack as Alice. The sequence then erupts into a great sequence that sees Dom fleeing after he leaves his wife for dead. The score by John Murphy is always excellent and was a great use of it here. The camera shots were also great, from its incredibly shaky handheld to the over-the-shoulder POV of the infected as they make chase, made for a a brilliant opening. Sadly, after this 10 minute introduction, it all falls apart.
The film then does some exposition explaining the infection has been quarantined and subsequently eradicated (and now the army and government are in the beginning of rebuilding London again.) We are then introduced to Dom and Alice’s children Mackintosh Muggleton (Andy) and Imogen Poots (Tammy) who are returning from a holiday abroad and to be reunited with their dad. This whole act and sequence is very dull, and really doesn’t create much of anything, until the kids break quarantine and return to their old house and find their mum still alive. This could’ve made for an interesting plot, as Dom clearly stated to his children how she was ripped to shreds and the script does begin to unfold this but quickly moves on. It’s a shame because little moments like this could’ve created more depth for the characters and the dynamics when they are soon to be faced with the infected. Alice is infected (through an interesting plot device of her being Heterochromia and she is merely a carrier of the infection.) It also frustrated me in this film how the infected now mirror zombies identically, as they now bite to spread the infection (as 28 Days Later never had the infected biting people.) She spreads it to Dom who then sort of becomes an intelligent infected, as after the outbreak that wipes out the safe zone, he begins stalking Andy and Tammy, but never attacks. It doesn’t make sense and is never really encapsulated and explained. Another plot device that is useless. Idris Elba plays General Stone who after the zone is destroyed quickly departs from this movie (and his character is never seen or explained again.)
The film moves onto a boring quest across London to make it to a stadium to get out of Britain. Jeremy Renner as Doyle was probably the most interesting character but sadly also takes an early departure from the film when he is torched alive. This scene doesn’t make sense to me, as he had no real motivation or pursue to sacrifice himself. His character was presented as a caring but selfish marksman, and his character was no-where near developed enough to make that kind of choice.
The end sequence of the film is done through a POV of a night scope on a rifle, that is engaging for the first 30 seconds but then rapidly becomes monotonous. The final showdown between Dom and Andy and Tammy is also lacklustre and dull. It felt so rushed, and culminated to such an eye-rolling conclusion.
Overall, with boring characters and a fatigued script, 28 Weeks Later sadly doesn’t live up to or even close to its predecessor. The bashful and violent original is replaced with a contemporary sequel that departs from its strict horror roots and adopts a more action-oriented approach. It was nowhere near as engaging as the original and practically copied all the great elements from the first and somehow made them tedious.