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'28 Weeks Later'

An unnecessary if jump-inducing sequel to Danny Boyle's neo-zombie frightfest 28 Days Later, about a "rage virus" that more or less devours England. At the outset of the new film, we're told that after killing off most of the British populace in just a few weeks, the virus ran its course, with the snarling, biting infected so consumed by their violent rage that they all starved to death. Now, seven months later, NATO forces led by the U.S. are making a stab at repopulating the country. They've established a rage-free Green Zone — all parallels to the real world fully intended — but they'll soon discover that pacifying the country is more difficult than they imagined. Boyle has handed off directing duties to Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, whose Intacto offered an eerier sort of scare a few years back. The new helmer's not adding much to the franchise, but he doesn't do it a disservice either; the pacing remains tense, and Fresnadillo keeps the first film's panicky, low-budget aesthetic intact-o.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.