FOX has released the surprisingly effective sequel to "28 DAYS LATER," ..."28 WEEKS LATER," simultaneously on blu-ray and dvd. While its director, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's previous film, "INTACTO," was visually stunning, it was nearly impossible to follow. Fresnadillo's follow-up doesn't have this problem, allowing the narrative and pacing to "28 WEEKS LATER" to unfold with precision and an accessible narrative, hitting the audience hard, at just the right spots, with just the right momentum, for an effective thriller.
After an opening sequence on par with the original film's beginning, in terms of impact, the rest of "28 WEEKS LATER" is more mainstream, without ever feeling dumbed down. Members of a family ravaged by the zombie-like victims from the first film, find themselves "secure" in a heavily-guarded "green zone. However, it's not long before the virus has made its way inside and all hell breaks loose, as two children and some heroic adults, including a sensational, amiable soldier, race against time and heavy, high-tech equipment to find an extraction zone and possible safety.
The look of "28 WEEKS LATER" is notably better than Boyle's design for the original film. While still having an intentionally gritty, grainy look, colors, though subdued at times, are consistently better. Detail is notably improved upon too. Noise is consistently present and darker scenes lack the detail found on the best blu-ray transfers. The level of detail, particularly in night sequences, is often amazing.
FOX has provided a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer with 1.85:1 aspect ratio for the blu-ray and 16:9 enhancement for the dvd. While the dvd is also notably better looking than the original film was in that format, it lacks the detail found on blu-ray, and noise is more disturbing. It's still a decent image, but notably inferior to the blu-ray in sequence after sequence.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 mix for the blu-ray and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd. The HD mix is aggressive and dynamic, ranking it up there with the best available on any high-def format. Surround/bass and directional effects permeate the room, only to be disrupted by a sudden quietness that's chilling, especially in a particular underground sequence near the film's conclusion, taking place in pitch-black. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is effective, providing numerous effects, but it pales in comparison to the fidelity offered on blu-ray.
The commentary is insightful for aspiring filmmakers. The deleted scenes add nothing, and the featurettes will entertain fans.