28 Weeks Later (2007) Revisited – Horror Movie Review

The latest episode of the Revisited video series looks back at the 2007 sequel to 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later

The episode of Revisited covering 28 Weeks Later was Written by Andrew Hatfield, Narrated by Jason Hewlett, Edited by Paul Bookstaber, Produced by Lance Vlcek and John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

2007 was a perfect year for films. We were graced with the first Transformers film in the series, which is still the best. Spider-Man 3 showed us that Tobey Maguire has some of the best dance moves in town, Judd Apatow provided us with great summer laughs in both Knocked Up and Superbad, Bruce Willis’s John McClaine returned in Live Free or Die Hard and a little rat warmed our hearts by serving us a dish of perfection in Ratatouille. While that’s all perfect, I’d say that I had my highest hopes for one movie in particular… 28 Weeks Later (watch it HERE). You may be thinking, of all the films, that’s the one you were most excited for? Well, let me explain.

Back in 2002, Danny Boyle unleashed his film 28 Days Later. It became a massive success and redefined zombie and horror films, without actual zombies in it. Because this was so popular, a sequel was inevitable. In 2005, when Danny announced a sequel was happening, I could barely control my excitement. Let’s take a lookback on one of my favorite horror films to come out of the 2000s, on this episode of Revisited.

Danny Boyle, writer Alex Garland and producer Andrew Macdonald were praised for 28 Days Later. Danny Boyle was also back in good graces of the public after his two previous misfires, A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. Both were distributed through 20th Century Fox, whereas 28 Days Later was dispersed through Fox Searchlight Pictures. Andrew Macdonald commentated that they were taken aback by the reaction and success to the film and sought out to make another film. They though it would be a great idea to try and please their audience once again.

After 28 Days Later was released the first pitch for a sequel was to title it 29 Days Later. It would bring back Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris and Megan Burns to their roles from the first film and would involve the British Marines attempting to rescue the Prime Minister and Queen of England. This idea was eventually dropped. As mentioned earlier, in 2005, Danny stated that a sequel was in production… but he wouldn’t be directing it. He had prior commitments to direct his upcoming sci-fi spectacle Sunshine. However, he would stay on as executive producer.

Danny Boyle teased that the plot would revolve around the aftermath of the first film. It would involve the US Army stating that the war against the infection was won and reconstruction of the country would commence. Rowan Joffé began writing the first draft which would include a family dealing with restarting after the outbreak.

28 Weeks Later Revisited

After impressing Danny Boyle with his film Intacto, Spanish filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was hired to direct the film. Danny believed he would be able to bring something fresh and new to the series. Fresnadillo read Joffé’s script and wanted to develop the family aspect and retain it into the plot more. The rewrite took almost a year with Alex Garland adding some input to the script as well.

Fox Atomic was the distribution and production house for the film. It was a company that arose in 2006 and was a sister to both 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures. They mainly distributed horror and comedy genre films and eventually closed in 2009. 28 Weeks Later was going to be their third film to produce, after the failures of Turistas and The Hills Have Eyes 2.

Casting began in 2006 and included Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Catherine McCormack, Harold Perrineau, Imogen Poots, Idris Elba, Mackintosh Muggleton, and Jeremy Renner. Unfortunately, this was the only film that Mackintosh Muggleton ever starred in. Rose Bryne would be in both this film as well as Danny Boyle’s film Sunshine and they’d release only a few months apart from each other in the summer of 2007. Here’s a fun fact regarding the extras who play the infected in the film. All hired extras were required to have a movement-based artistic background, including occupations like ballet, dance, gymnastics, circus performing and even miming!

Production commenced on September 1, 2006. The film was shot in London which much of the filming taking place at Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs. Some of the production was filmed at 3 Mills Studios, where Sunshine was also filming. Some shots towards the end were needed at Wembley Stadium, but because of a major reconstruction there, filming was moved to Wales and Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was used as replacement. Visual effects were used to turn the seats red and make the grass look unattended to. The film employed a combination of practical effects, stunts, and computer-generated imagery to depict the infected and the destruction caused to London. The visual effects team created post-apocalyptic landscapes and realistic depictions of the infected population. The film’s cinematography showcased the desolate environment, emphasizing the contrast between the decimated city and isolated safe zones.

All the night scenes involving Imogen, Rose, Mackintosh and Renner’s journey across London to escape the bombs were shot day-for-night using new editing techniques created specifically for the film by the director of photography, Enrique Chediak. By shouting during the daytime however, there are fewer lights on in most buildings thus giving the impression of buildings being in total darkness. There were shot like this for three reasons. Firstly, because the filmmakers couldn’t use Mackintosh at night. Second, there’s a scene that shows a total shut down of power in London. Lastly, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was a fan of the spooky day-for-night shooting and thought it would add great sense of unease to the film.

28 Weeks Later Revisited

28 Weeks Later unfolds six months after the outbreak of a rage virus devastated the UK. The film follows the events that occur when the virus resurfaces in a secured safe zone called District One in London. As chaos erupts, a small group of survivors, including a man named Don and his children, Tammy, and Andy. After Don gets infected by the virus, Tammy, Andy, a medical officer named Scarlet and a sniper named Doyle, attempt to escape the city while facing both the infected and a deadly military response led by General Stone. Their journey is fueled by Don’s guilt and desire to protect his children, leading to sacrifices and moral dilemmas along the way.

28 Weeks Later was released on May 11, 2007. Opening in second place at the box office it grossed $9.8 million. Its overall gross was $28.6 million domestically and $35.6 million internationally, bringing the worldwide total to $64.2 million. Critics were kind, giving it a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus it’s fun, exciting and action-packed with fantastic atmosphere and punchy direction. Audiences seemed to enjoy it too.

This film is packed with some excellent scenes. The intro alone is worth a watch. In it, Don and his wife Alice are hiding out from the infected with a group of survivors. Unfortunately, they are found and so begins an intense chase scene accompanied by a heart pounding score, composed by John Murphy. Danny Boyle even directed second unit footage for the opening scene.

On October 9, 2007, 28 Weeks Later released on DVD and Blu-ray. Both copies have the same bonus features and offer some great supplements. If you care about audio commentary and tech specs of the film, then you should give it a listen. Director Juan Carlos Fresnadlillo and writer/producer Enrique López-Lavigne offer up some excellent behind the scenes knowledge of how they made the film. There’s also some great deleted scenes and standard featurettes about the movie too.

The ending shows the infected running towards the Eiffel Tower. You hear someone over comms saying that the infection has spread outside of England and has been released to continental Europe. It’s such a great ending and, as a fan, I’ve been waiting ever since 2007 to see a sequel.

In June 2019, Danny Boyle confirmed he and Alex Garland had met to discuss preparation for a third film. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much since then. Danny’s last film, Yesterday, released in 2019. With no upcoming films or tv shows confirmed, it’s as good a time as any for Danny to go back to the well and make a proper sequel to this perfect series.

28 Weeks Later Revisited

I absolutely love this film. It’s gripping, intense, relentless and serves as worthy sequel to its predecessor. The performances all around are commendable, with Robert Carlyle standing in as a great antagonist. Visually its beautiful, especially when being compared to how ugly the first film looks. It dives into some thought-provoking themes such as the dark side of human nature and choices made in extreme circumstances.

Yes, this is a sequel, but it also stands as a distinct, self-contained story and expertly balances action, horror, and emotional depth while providing a thrilling cinematic experience. Some will complain and say certain plot points and character decisions may feel predictable or convenient and dilute the impact of the story… and that’s okay. I still very much enjoy this film and I’m going to give it a solid 8 out of 10.

Overall, 28 Weeks Later is a worthy sequel that delivers on the suspense and horror established by its predecessor. It showcases strong performances, relentless pacing, and some visually striking scenes. Set to an eerie score by John Murphy and brilliantly directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, its sure to satisfy any fan of intense and adrenaline-fueled cinema!

Two previous episodes of Revisited can be seen below. To see more of our shows, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals channel – and subscribe while you’re at it!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of JoBlo.com, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.