The original film “28 Days Later” will always have a place in my heart, mainly because it helped redefine the zombie genre. And while director Danny Boyle will insist this film isn’t a zombie movie (not about the undead but about people infected with a virus), it still plays out like one.

When the sequel was released this summer, I was a bit cautious. It’s not often that a sequel to one of my favorite films in recent years turns out to be at least as good as the original. However, Danny Boyle as the producer (and sometimes second unit director) pulled it off. By tapping talented Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to head this movie, he was able to deliver one of the most chilling, stunning and emotional horror films in recent years.

The story takes off 28 weeks after the dreaded rage virus has ravaged London. Now that the infected have all died off from starvation, the military is in the midst of repopulating the city. Don (Robert Carlyle) lost his wife in the aftermath and is welcoming the return of his children from abroad. But things cannot remain sunny forever in this grim film. Soon, the rage virus resurfaces, and the military must take drastic action to contain it once again.

Part of what makes both films work so well is that they aren’t shot with the sensibilities of a horror film. Rather, they’re shot like a combat movie or documentary. The films work together to put the viewer at ground zero of the action, and with superb writing and characterization, it really gives the viewer an emotional sense of actually being there.

The DVD comes with commentary for the feature as well as a couple deleted scenes. There are three featurettes that go behind different aspects of the film, including the make-up effects and the action. Finally, one of the more unique features of the disc are two comic panel adaptations of the graphic novel “28 Days Later: The Aftermath,” which is a great little book in itself.

Film Grade: A

DVD Experience: B+

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