Fans of the original 28 Days Later will probably take this bigger-budgeted sequel to their blood-soaked bosoms. Like The Hills Have Eyes II and a lot of other downmarket horror-slasher movies these days, it introduces a timely Gulf-War occupation metaphor, as overconfident US Army volunteers move in their all their fancy weaponry and technology, only to find themselves wayyyyy in over their heads when the, uh, viscera hits the fan (the helicopter blades, actually).
If you’ve seen the very effective trailer for this thing you know 90 per cent of the storyline already (and can guess about all but 6 per cent of the rest). Britain is dead after events in 28 Days Later, millions wiped out after a expiring from starvation, having turned into vicious zombies after a fast-spreading, rabies-like plague escaped from a lab. Now the US Army has moved in to enforce a high-tech quarantine and resettlement of London with the refugees who managed to escape the British Isles to an untainted Europe.
One of the American's key local people, (Robert Carlyle) is a shifty-type bloke with access cards to all the locked-down tunnels and antiseptic/sterile airlocks. As we see in the opening, he cowardly abandoned his wife to the zombie holocaust, and when he’s reunited with his son and daughter and lies to the kids about it, well, one thing leads to another, and so there’s the inevitable renewed rage virus and zombie outbreak.
There are strong Fallujah/Tet Offensive vibes as the occupiers face the impossibility of telling virus-infected targets (think insurgents) from the untainted, helpless civilians, in a free-fire-zone wholesale massacre. No mention of Bush and Blair, but fiery death rained down upon the deserted British capital is eerily like the WWII Blitz all over again, only with the Yankees, not Hitler’s Luftwaffe, doing the honors. That’s spooky. After that, though, and a few creatively nauseating gore scenes (see above, helicopter), the essential story arc is depressingly predictable, right down to the promise of further sequels and splitting headache you'll get from the high-grain digital cinematography, jarring edits and rock-and-roll soundtrack.
This movie could have been worse (granted that it’s a Fox Atomic release, a WHOLE lot worse), but it’s starting to seem like when you’ve seen one 28 Days Later you’ve pretty much seen them all. Though no characters reappear from the first film – as if the gorehound fans care. Bottom line: you liked the first so much, here’s another. Don’t come whining to me when 28 Years Later takes the franchise to outer space and duels with Jason and Freddy.