Netflix and Chill: 420 Edition: ‘28 Weeks Later’

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Take it from someone who saw this movie in a theater, under the influence, all the way back in 2007: You will love it if you are stoned, but you might want to steer clear if you have any sort of existing heart condition. The first 15 minutes or so exemplify some truly masterful, relentless action-horror filmmaking; but they’re almost impossibly exhausting. If you enjoyed “Mad Max: Fury Road” (which you should have), “28 Weeks Later” moves at a similarly breakneck pace, except it’s about zombies. These aren’t your momma’s listless “Night of the Living Dead” zombies, either, who trudge and shuffle along slowly enough for characters to escape in the nick of time. These creatures emerged at the forefront of the speedy-zombie movement, and sprint as fast as they possibly can to feed on flesh, eyes bloodshot and someone else’s gore already dripping down their jaws.

The story takes place six months after a “rage virus” has annihilated Great Britain. The country is under control of military personnel and everyone is quarantined so as to prevent the infiltration of more infection. Nobody actually uses the word “zombie,” since the film is meant more as a metaphor for the rampant spread of disease, not as the latest addition to the monster flick canon. But the virus makes people pretty zombified, both enraged and eager to murder their friends and family. It gets spread through contact with the infected’s blood, so one bite’ll do ya. At the movie’s beginning, NATO forces have finally declared the country free from infection, but of course they are wrong.

“28 Weeks” is a sequel to “28 Days Later,” a film directed by Danny Boyle of “127 Hours” and “Trainspotting” fame and featuring the same zombies overtaking Britain. But the first installment was slower and more contemplative; in its most famous sequence, a lone man awakens in a hospital and wanders outside to find London completely deserted, having been in a coma during the virus outbreak. I usually prefer the slow-building, nuanced horror; but “Weeks” is both more vicious AND equally intelligent. I won’t give anything else away, though rest assured a loving family is torn apart in a devastating fashion.

Stoners can probably relate to zombies. Both are super hungry and a little sluggish. It’s safe to say the “Living Dead” crowd are indica appreciators, while the “28 Weeks” guys probably have access to some potent, energetic sativa. I wonder if rage-virus-infected stoners would be easier or more difficult to defeat than your average sober citizen. Let’s just hope we never have to find out.

Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

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