28 times better
Tonight, I finally got round to watching 28 Weeks Later on Blu-ray after much procrastination, and I’m glad I didn’t just leave it to gather dust on the shelf. This is a much better film than its predecessor, 28 Days Later, which I always found rather overrated, mainly due to its cheap consumer grade video camerawork and clumsy “who are the real monsters?” themes. The sequel has these themes too, and it also has a lot of choppy hand-held camerawork, but it does both of them considerably better than its predecessor, and the fact that it’s shot on film means that it no longer feels like amateur hour.
It’s interesting that the director, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, is Spanish, given that one of his compatriots, Alfonso Cuarón, created a similarly effective portrayal of a post-apocalyptic Britain in the excellent Children of Men. Unlike Cuarón’s film, however, 28 Weeks Later is unabashedly a horror film - grim, violent and pacey. I’m actually extremely impressed by the plotting, in that it was one of those films where I could never precict what was going to happen next, and it threw me in a loop on several occasions when it came to who died and who survived.
Robert Carlyle may get top billing, but to be honest his screen time is somewhat limited. The film truly belongs to his character’s two children, played by Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton, both of whom are revelations, never once giving off the impression that they are actually “acting”. Catherine McCormack also shines in a brief role.
In terms of presentation, 20th Century Fox’s transfer is very good, seemingly representing the varied source formats (35mm, 16mm, high definition video) accurately. There may have been a small amount of noise reduction, but nothing too severe. A few of the HDV-based shots exhibit some noticeable haloing, but I’m assuming that this was inherent to the source format rather than something intentionally applied for the BD release. Either way, only a handful of shots are affected. The rest looks excellent.