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Visceral and intense

May 22, 2007|by ROWAN COPLEY

The 2002 movie "28 Days Later" invented a new kind of horror monster - zombies on speed. The recently released "28 Weeks Later" continues the story and storytelling style.

In the first movie, a handful of Britons try to survive the so-called Rage Virus, a fast-acting germ spread from person to person by fluid exchange. The virus turns infected people into murderous zombies. In "28 Weeks Later," the U.S. Army is assisting the British government establish a safe haven in London.

However, there isn't nearly as much story depth in "28 Weeks Later" as in the original. In "28 Days Later," we learned much more about the characters. The story for this sequel moves quickly, much more so than the original.

"28 Weeks Later" does not require a lot of thinking. It's very immediate, gripping. It feels a lot tighter than the original. The tense, let's-get-the-heck-out-of-here story propels the film.

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Once the Rage Virus gets out and zombies start infecting people, there's a gut-wrenching scene in which soldiers are given the order to kill everyone. They've lost control, and things spiral out of control quickly.

Once it gets going, the movie barely stops for a breath. This is where it's at its best - showing the immediacy of full terror. There are several moments that are cringe-inducing. Every scene hints at a feeling of terror lurking in the shadows, but a few scenes are downright disorienting.

"28 Weeks Later" is completely unafraid of going off the deep end with violence, like mowing down a horde of zombies with a chopper. So if you have an aversion to strong violence, go see "Shrek the Third."

Despite some quibbles with the story, "28 Weeks Later" is a powerful, scary movie that goes beyond cheap scares. It's a master of the sudden terror moment, and I'm personally looking forward to the almost inevitable sequel.

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