Horror sequel heightens paranoia

Robert Carlyle plays a tormented father in 28 Weeks Later.


If the 2002 film 28 Days Later terrified audiences with the prospect of an uncontrollable virus laying waste to a modern country such as Britain, its sequel 28 Weeks Later should only serve to heighten that paranoia.

Where the first film offered relatively minimal depictions of Britons infected with the ‘rage’ virus, the second pulls out all the stops, unleashing a viral fury on decimated London.

28 Weeks Later is set, well, 28 weeks after the virus has laid waste to England leaving only a handful of citizens left behind to try to rebuild. A U.S.-led NATO force has taken over the country to help organize and repopulate its cities.

But what they don’t realize is that the virus has not been completely killed off — they assume that after this amount of time that the infected have died of starvation. For the most part they’re right, except for one woman who holds the key to not only developing a vaccine, but possibly halting the virus’ spread.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (Intacto) and executive produced by 28 Days Later director Danny Boyle, 28 Weeks features a completely new cast with no returning members from the Cillian Murphy-led original.

The sequel stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, The Full Monty) as a tormented husband and father who is reunited with his two missing children lost in the rage-induced chaos.

The film also stars Idris Elba (The Reaping) and Harold Perrineau — best known as Link in The Matrix trilogy and for two seasons as Michael Dawson on the hit series Lost — as a U.S. general and helicopter pilot, respectively, both of whom can only sit back and watch as London once again falls into chaos when the virus resurfaces.

Although both 28 Weeks and the original technically aren’t zombie films as they’re so often described-these brain-eaters are infected with a virus — most acknowledge the films can be easily placed in that category.

Not that it matters much to Elba or Perrineau — neither actor is a zombie or horror fan.

“Honestly, my imagination’s too vivid so it stays with me for a couple of days in my apartment freaking me out,” Elba says, explaining his disdain for frightening film fare.

For Perrineau, who admits the only zombie films he’d ever seen were 28 Days Later and the 2004 version of Dawn Of The Dead, the relative believability of the out-of-control virus theme made a role in 28 Weeks all the more attractive for an actor used to turning down horror parts.

“We live in an era when there’s SARS, AIDS and the bird flu and West Nile Virus and (all) these viruses that we’re scared about taking over and shutting down certain parts of the country or the world even,” Perrineau says.

“That’s what’s the scariest (aspect of the film) for me — a virus obliterating one part of the world and moving on.”

  • 28 Weeks Later opens in theatres tomorrow.

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