Yes, the movie 28 Weeks Later, and none other.
I sat through it in the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday morning. I did it for a couple of reasons, but in retrospect, none of them were good.
First, I did it because I’ve got a buddy who writes zombie fiction. There’s a lot of zombie fiction running around out there, and it seems to be growing in popularity. Not as quickly or obscenely as vampire fiction, of course, but on the rise nonetheless. And I missed the boat on the original 28 Days Later when that came through, ‘cause, well … zombies ain’t my thing. I have another buddy who’s big on them too, though, so I decided to give it a shot. I mean, they can’t both be wrong, can they? There must be something to the the zombie stuff to make these guys like it, right?
Okay, interesting premise. I had to consult Wikipedia to get the premise, but I finally got it. I had to look it up after the movie though. I’ve been trying to watch this stupid thing for a couple of weeks, but haven’t gotten to. My kids are scared of the term “zombie movie”, never mind the actual movie, so this was a crime of opportunity.
Anyway, the premise isn’t hard to gather from context. It’s not like zombie movies over the last ten years have much complexity. So, basically, virus has destroyed the world, everyone’s a zombie, those who aren’t are hiding from zombies. Pretty typical, pretty standard, pretty lame. It turns out the world wasn’t destroyed after all; just Great Britain, that hotbed of viral research and world science epicenter. Anyway.
The movie opens with whispers and quiet, by candlelight. Again, not hard to figure out what’s going on. But that didn’t last (why would it?), and soon we have shrieking zombies with blood-soaked fangs chasing a small bastion of humanity through a tiny cottage in rural England. One escapee, natch, since we need a common thread for the movie.
This movie takes place twenty-eight weeks after the original movie wherein a virus turned everyone to zombies and they’ve all starved to death, so the rest of the world is allowing British expatriates to return from refugee camps around the world.
Yadda yadda yadda, the movie ends with a bunch of zombies rushing out with a shriek (what’s the screaming all about, anyway? Don’t they get winded faster doing that?) of a subway tunnel into the sunrise with the Eiffel Tower in the distance, and dun-dun-DUNNNNNN!, mainland Europe is infected, and we’re all gonna die, oh my God, insert horror movie scream here.
The movie seemed so … predictable? cliched? trite? I don’t know what to call it, but every step of the way I knew what was going to happen. I didn’t fall asleep, but I felt like I could’ve and wouldn’t have missed anything.
Am I missing something here? Was I supposed to see something I didn’t, catch some symbolism I didn’t, be challenged in some way I wasn’t? I don’t get it, ‘cause this struck me as just another extremely predictable movie about zombies. Sure, they were fast and loud, which is very different than the lumbering, shuffling, groaning zombies I remember from my youth, and they did show planning and resourcefulness missing in the mindless … well, zombies of the older zombie lore. Overall, however, it struck me as one in a long line of stories about a virus which escapes, infects people, and makes ‘em eat one another. And they don’t even finish their food in this one. Take a couple bites and chase another victim seemed the order of the day here.
I Am Legend had exactly the same premise. Much cooler special effects and stuff, but it was the same exact story, from a different national perspective (and in that one, it really was the whole world getting wiped out). I’ve heard of a newer film called Quarantine which seems to be the same thing as well. How many times can this be done before it’s too tired to carry its own weight? (I think we’re already there; Wikipedia said something about how 28 Weeks Later might actually spawn 28 Months Later if it saw enough success. Ugh. Run it into the ground already.)
So, is this a genre where it’s “seen one, seen ‘em all” for movies and plots? If so, someone’s gonna have to explain the attraction to me, because I just don’t see it. If a good idea is done too many times it’s not a good idea anymore (see ref: Jaws, Terminator, Friday the 13th Part N, etc.).
Is this what the horror genre has come to? Is this true for all “horror” movies (not a lot of “horror” in the one I sat through)? Is there really nothing original anymore? Is there really nothing taken a new direction anymore? Well … I mean besides sparkly vampires? (I’ll give her this – that was a new twist on it.)
Sound off; let me in on the secret I seem to be missing.
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