This is a Scarina first. Today’s review will be a double-feature. Whoa, amirite? And the movies have absolutely nothing to do with each other! It will be like the most dadaist movie review EVAR.
I watched 28 Weeks Later this weekend. Then, I discovered a new tv channel that I didn’t even know exists. It’s called This and seems to focus on terrible movies. I got involved in a hilariously awful movie called House from 1986. It’s not the Japanese cult classic Hausu and it’s not a curmudgeonly but brilliant doctor. It does feature the guy who was Norm from Cheers as a nosy neighbor and Bull from Night Court as a crazed U.S. soldier in Vietnam.
On. To. Movies!
28 Weeks Later
The first time I saw this movie was in theaters when it was first released. Unfortunately, some lamecakes underage teenager was having a birthday party with every friend they ever made ever at the theater. They were admitted because there was one adult with them and then they proceeded to shriek at the screen the whole time. After telling them to shut up multiple times, a group of people, including me, went to complain. By the time we were done the movie was over. So I had no clue how the movie ended. I was just irritated because I didn’t like it as much as the original, even though I chalked this up to the terrible theater experience.
So I put it on my Netflix queue so I could at least see what happened. And…I still don’t like it as much as 28 Days Later.
The movie starts with a group of people holed-up in a cottage in the countryside. There’s a couple, Don and Alice, and they’re very grateful that their children were out of the country on a school trip during the outbreak. The house is infiltrated by the infected when they open the door to rescue a child. How far would you go to survive? Because Don ditches Alice when she won’t abandon the child and runs as fast as his skinny legs let him. The chaos of the scene is contrasted with the bucolic English countryside.
The infected eventually starve to death and the U.S. takes over military operations in the U.K. They start to deem London save and designate a green zone on the Isle of Dogs where Don finds work as a caretaker. His children Tammy (Imogen Poots, before she played Blanche Ingram in the new Jane Eyre) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton, I love that name btw) return to the country and he tells them that he saw their mom die. This will bite him on the ass, just like a zombie!
At their medical screening, it’s noted that Andy has two differently colored eyes, just like his mum. This is important.
Tammy and Andy decide to visit their old home on the mainland to find their old house and get a picture of their mom. Instead, they find Alice hiding in the house, drawing crosses on the wall, and being pretty crazy. It turns out that mom is a carrier of the rage virus but is asymptomatic. She can still infect people. The army brings mom and the kids back and this decision turns out to be fatal.
There are definitely parts of this movie that are good. The music is still evocative and creepy. I don’t think the filmwork is as beautiful as in the original movie but I like the decision to switch between standard shots and shots from security cameras and sniper scopes. It creates an atmosphere of danger and claustrophobia. As per my love of apocalyptic scenes I love when the kids ride through the remains of London on a motorbike. The scene where they have to get the car started during the nerve gas attack is quite tense and the scene in the subway station with the corpses piled up is quite terrifying. I think I feel this way since I commute underground daily and I have this irrational fear of zombies attacking while I’m on the train. And can I say that I love the scene when the helicopter blades chop up the infected?
On the other hand, the opening scenes with the infected are shot in what I like to call “strobe and chaos vision.” I hate this, it makes it really hard for me to figure out what’s happening and hurts my head. The ending also felt overlong and repetitive. The movie came out in 2007 and the critiques of U.S. militarism is quite apparent. Maybe it’s because it’s four-years-later but it feels quite dated. I hated the military leaders when I first saw the movie but now I support their actions in the movie. Am I becoming a conservative? I don’t think so. I just think that in light of the terrible dangers of the rage virus, it’s not unreasonable to sacrifice the inhabitants of the island to save the over six billion other people on the planet. Especially in light of the ending.
Finally, I just really missed Jim, Selena, and Hannah. I want to know what happened to them and I know that Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris had other projects to work on but I do wish that there could have been a footnote saying that they survived or died.
Check out that poster. It has a big floating, rotten hand that looks like it escaped from the cover of an R.L. Stine book. How can this movie not be good?
It was terrible, btw. TerribLY funny. See what I did there? And weird. This movie was very very weird and makes about zero percent sense.
William Katt plays Roger Cobb, a horror writer whose marriage ended after their son disappears at his aunt’s house. When auntie hangs herself, he does the logical thing and moves into the place. He has to battle the demons and ghosts of the house, plus his flashbacks to “Vietnam.” I put Vietnam in quotes because it looked more like the garden center of Lowe’s.
Here are some of the more ridiculous moments of the movie:
There’s a very fake mounted swordfish on the wall. At one point it starts to move and just go mental. He shoots it with a shotgun but it keeps going so he just covers it with a blanket.
Then, his ex-wife, Sandy, visits after Nosy Norm calls her and tells her that Roger is crazy. So Roger shoots her in the stomach and she morphs into this…poop-looking demon with crispy Buffalo Bill hair, a tube-dress, and long hooker nails.
Then a bunch of hovering garden-tools decapitate her. Roger chops her up further and buries her body in multiple holes in broad daylight. Worst. Coverup. Ever.
Roger keeps having flashbacks to the ‘Nam and a skeleton-zombie of his friend, Ben, appears. He’s angry that Roger didn’t kill him after he was wounded so the Viet Minh captured him instead. This is t.v.’s Bull from Night Court and his skelejaw is never, ever synched up with his lines.
It turns out that Roger’s son was sucked into some kind of Vietnam/ghost dimension through the mirror in auntie’s medicine cabinet. I was hoping this sentence would make more sense as I typed it out but it makes even less sense. I guess he was in a ghost P.O.W. camp…for some reason.
This movie isn’t scary at all and is way too long. But it’s still fun to watch with nachos and beer. But nachos and beer make anything better.