Thoughts On The 28 _____ Later Movies.

I thought I should do a thoughts on on two of my favorite horror movies: 28 Days Later… and 28 Weeks Later. Unlike the previous thoughts on segments, however, this one will be both a discussion and a set of reviews (including scores). So why not just do a 2 In 1 you ask? Because there’s more I want to talk about than just the acting or cinematography or whatnot. Plus, it’ll be easier to focus on both movies simultaneously.

So first and foremost, I need to bring up the most discussed topic on these two movies: What, exactly, are The Infected? Well, they’re not zombies. I repeat:

They are not zombies.

I love zombies. I’m a zombie fanatic. I’ve studied them left and right, from the voodoo variety to the heights of George Romero and the lows of Uwe Boll. So I can safely say that to be a zombie, you must have the following three primary characteristics:

1) You must be dead.

This is key to being a cinematic zombie. You have to be a reanimated corpse, whether slow or fast for whatever reason.

2) You must eat human flesh.

This is second most important, and most obvious, trait of being a zombie. Zombies eat people. That’s why they’re so fearsome. They don’t just go for brains (as the awful Return of the Living Dead movies portray), but any bodily flesh.

3) You can only be killed via brain damage (such as a gunshot) or decapitation.

Shoot them in the knees, they’ll get back up and continue stumbling for you. Cut them in half, they’ll pull themselves with their guts dragging behind them. Set them on fire, they’ll keep on after you (at least until the fire damages the brain). No matter what, the only things to keep a zombie down is damaging the brain or severing it from the spinal column.

So, taking all of these three key characteristics into mind, let us look at The Infected:

1) They are not dead. They’re living people (albeit very angry living people).

2) They do not eat human flesh. In fact, they don’t eat period (they end up starving to death by the end).

3) They can be killed just like any other human being can be killed (as portrayed quite a few times in both movies).

The Infected follow none of the key traits of a zombie. Therefore, they’re not zombies. They’re highly enraged humans who have lost all other thoughts except for the primal urge to destroy. And that’s what they do. They use what they have (teeth, fingernails, etc.) to attack a person until they either die or become infected themselves.

So now that all of that is out of the way, we can get to my thoughts on the actual movies. I think both movies are extraordinary in what they do, and they both do different things. Days is the more philosophical one with strong characters and strong character growth. You really feel for the main group and their plight and journeys. And you feel awful when things happen to them. Weeks, on the other hand, focuses more on the heart-pounding, nonstop suspense and the family unit. But that’s not to say you don’t feel for the characters of the sequel. You do; just not in the same way. Days had a slow pacing with the suspense spread out, allowing you to really get some calm, character-knowing moments. Weeks, however, was almost non-stop action, so while you might have really liked a character and felt for them (such as Doyle), you really don’t get to feel you really know them, if that makes sense.

The next big thing to notice about each movie is the visual styles of each. Days has more of a grainy, hand-held, realistic approach, while Weeks is more mainstream high-def camera work. However, where Weeks loses in the grainy picture, it gains in the unique situations that the main characters get put into. When Andy gets stuck in the dark garage full of people, and they start becoming infected, you wonder how on earth he’s going to get out. Or when they go into the subway tunnels and it’s pitch black, so they have to rely on the night-scope and vocal orders to get through safely. Both movies have a unique style for what each does, and both work amazingly well. I would also like to take this moment to mention one of my favorite shots out of both movies, which just so happens to be in Days: When Jim first enters the church (and after passing the ‘the end is fucking nigh’ in blood on the wall), he looks down from the balcony to see a bunch of dead bodies sprawled out right underneath a painting/stained glass window of bodies sprawled out on the ground. It’s just beautiful imagery.

As for acting, Days is far superior. Cillian Murphy knocks it out of the park as Jim, and his character growth is astounding. He begins the movie as a nervous, naïve-to-the-situation, what-the-hell kinda guy. But by the end, he’s a badass, taking charge and wrecking havoc against the military guys. Naomie Harris as Selena probably has the biggest character change, though, going from heartless, tough-as-nails, take-no-shit, I’ll-kill-you-in-a-heartbeat kinda gal, to a caring, loving, compassionate individual (though still pretty tough). Brendan Gleeson as Frank the loving, though worried and protective father was great. You can’t help but feel for him and his dead-set mission on finding the military base so that his daughter can be in safe hands. If there were any downfalls in the acting, it would be Megan Burns as Hannah, Frank’s daughter, who talked really blandly half the time as if she were stoned (though, she is stoned for the entire climax, so that might be alright…).

The best performances for Weeks, on the other hand, were Robert Carlyle as Don (mostly because of his eyes and facial expressions)--at least early on in the movie, anyway--and, of course, Jeremy Renner as Doyle, who is the most likeable character in the movie. And I like him even more, as I saw in a behind-the-scenes that he shares the same opinion with me on the not-zombie issue. As for the kids… well, with real names like Imogen Poots and Mackintosh Muggleton, who needs anything more?

It really goes without saying that the winner on the suspense level is Weeks. I’ve said it before, but Weeks has one of the greatest and most suspenseful movie openings ever. And the openings for each movie really show the differences in the two movies. After the monkey sequence, Days has about 10-15 minutes of Jim walking around a beautifully desolate London all alone, slowly realizing that the entire city has seemingly evacuated completely. And then he reaches the church, has the run-in with the priest, and then is chased for about a minute or so before there’s a huge explosion, and that’s it.

Weeks, on the other hand, has a few first slow minutes before there’s a break for quick suspense, then another minute to catch our breath, and then about 5 minutes of non-stop, heart-pounding suspense. And not only that, but there’s so much emotion in that little time frame, especially with Don’s escape.

The two movies were compared in level of greatness with George Romero’s original films. Days was like Night of the Living Dead: classic and amazing. Weeks was like Dawn of the Dead: taking everything great in the first, and making it even better. I used to agree whole- heartedly with that statement, but I really think now that both movies really do two different things in amazing ways that it’s hard to say which is better than the other. The style of Days, uneasy and slow-moving, worked for the story it had to tell. But the style of Weeks, fast-paced and terror-filled, worked for its own story, as well. So in the end, they’re both great, and they’re both two of my favorite horror films. The third one better come soon. But for now, I have to give the two that are currently available both an equal score.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. I totally forgot to mention this, but the main musical theme in both movies is one of my favorite horror movie themes ever. Purely amazing.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.