28 Weeks Later

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

DLR Soldier: "We are headed for the green-zone, our area of security and reconstruction, designated as District One. District One is located on the Isle of Dogs. Although the Isle of Dogs is completely safe, the surrounding area of London is not....."


As implied by the title, the story of 28 Weeks Later -- the sequel to the 2002 horror film 28 Days Later -- begins twenty-eight weeks after the events of the first film, where a literal Hate Plague ravaged Britain: a U.S.-led NATO force has established a foothold in the Isle of Dogs, where it's started the process of repatriating the countless English citizens left stranded after leaving their country during the Rage virus outbreak. Those who return end up quarantined in "District One" under heavy surveillance by US soldiers; Don Harris (played by Robert Carlyle), one of the quarantined, became one of the few people trapped in London who managed to survive the outbreak. Haunted by the memory of being forced to abandon his wife during an attack by a horde of infected Rage carriers, Don ends up reunited with his two children, Tammy and Andy, when they become new residents of District One.

Since the Infected starved to death weeks ago and no evidence suggests the plague crossed over into other species, the survivors begin the process of trying to rebuild their former lives while the NATO forces begin an extensive effort to clean up further areas of London to prepare for rehabitation. When Tammy and Andy sneak out of District 1 in order to visit their former home, however, the survivors -- and the soldiers protecting them -- soon discover lingering traces of the Rage virus, which kicks off a frantic fight to keep the plague from spreading once more.

Tropes used in 28 Weeks Later include:

  • After the End: The premise of the sequel involved attempts by the U.S. Military to recolonize Britain after all the Infected were apparently cleared out.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Andy uses one to escape a locked room after the infection spreads amongst the crowded civilians in District 1.
    • Justified in that Andy is small enough to fit inside an air duct.
  • America Saves the Day: Inverted; by the end of the film, America has succeeded in making it worse.
    • The kids make it worse by sneaking out of the safe zone, and Dan makes it worse by sneaking past security and kissing his diseased wife. America had it under control until a couple Brits made some very stupid decisions.
  • Apathetic Citizens: They've all just survived a viral outbreak. One assumes that even the ones who were outside of the UK and returned had been shown videos and been told how virulent the Infected were before they even returned. Yet when they are herded to a secure location for their own safety - no matter how unsafe that actually turned out to be in the end - they bicker and complain to the troops about it.
  • Blind Alley: Seen in one of the short films made for 28 Weeks Later. A man is pressed up against a wall as the Rage virus infected run past the alley — presumably their blinding anger prevents them from doing common sense things like looking around for someone who's gone out of sight.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Heterochromia. Genre Savvy tropers can pick out the entire plot of the movie simply from one conversation in the first few minutes.
  • Daylight Horror: The beginning sequence and the final image of the movie, particularly.
  • Death By Pragmatism: Inverted. When the quarantined civilians inside Sector One initially break out, chased by/mixed with Infected, the U.S. soldiers are ordered to only fire on infected. This causes their lines to be swamped by panicking civilians and infected that weren't identified fast enough. Since the crowd of civilians and infected were coming out of one large set of doors, with multiple automatic weapons trained on it, if the soldiers had unloaded immediately on everyone coming through, they might have been able to stop the infection right there.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Robert Carlyle's character who we start the movie following is either this or a Sacrificial Lion.
  • Downer Ending: A Bittersweet Ending for Andy and Tammy (they survived, but their parents are dead and Andy is a carrier), this trope for everything else. London has been decimated once again by the virus and the subsequent firebombing, all of the thousands of London settlers have been horribly killed, and the Infected have reached France, meaning all of Europe is basically screwed.
    • Not sure about that. Consider that there was only a fairly small contingent of U.S./NATO troops present as security for the repatriation effort. If the infection were to reach the mainland, the governments of Europe would likely bring their full military force to bear against the hordes. Also, the virus has a miniscule incubation period and is transmitted by bodily fluids, meaning that it's pretty damn easy to identify an infected individual. See, modern militaries have these awesome things that can hover around and rain death upon ground forces from a safe distance in the air - they're called helicopter gunships. We also have things like Gatling guns, explosives, and weapons of mass destruction. And since the infected are still technically human in terms of squishiness, conventional weapons are effective against them, and a neutron bomb even more so (remember the firebom strike on London did wipe out most of the infected).
    • And even Andy and Tammy's Bittersweet Ending is highly questionable, since the presence of the Infected in France strongly implies that Andy somehow infected Tammy, whose first act as an infected would probably be to kill her brother.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Invoked quite literally in the final scene.
  • Eye Scream: This sequel plays this trope horrifyingly straight. After reuniting with his wife, Don gets infected by the virus and kills Alice by gouging her eyes out. This is a direct comparison to the first movie's hero, who does the same to a soldier without being infected.
    • Although she might have rather died out of him beating the shit out of her first and then ripping her trachea off by biting.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: When a frantic child is allowed into the barricaded home that Don, Alice, and a group of other survivors are holed up in just weeks after the infection began, his arrival portends the events to come.

Child: "My mum, my dad... They're trying to kill me. There's others too."
Don: "How many others?"
Child: "... Loads."

  • Fake American: Australian Rose Byrne and, somewhat oddly, British Idris Elba as American Soldiers.
  • Helicopter Blender: As graphic and wonderful and horrifying as much of the film.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Doyle pushes off the others to safety before getting torched by one of the extermination squads. Possibly foreshadowed with this line:

"Their [Tammy's and Andy's] lives are far more valuable than mine...or yours."

  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Looks like Sergeant James' 2nd tour didn't end well.
  • Idiot Ball: Quite apart from the above example, if either the Chief Medical Officer or Sgt Doyle had bothered to explain why the children were so important, even to the children, someone might have been more careful and we might just have avoided the infection of France and the breach of the sea border which was holding back the infection.
    • The lack of the most basic security measures in District One. No effective barrier on bridges and few guards. It's about as easy as sneaking out of high school campus during lunch break.
      • Easier, actually -- have you seen the security in American schools these days?
    • On the children's part, they decided to sneak out of District One even after the military told them explicitly not to do so and why. As poor as the security is on the military's part, they may not have been expecting someone to do something as stupid as what Tammy and Andy did.
    • Don holds the biggest one of all. He pretty much single-handedly caused the second outbreak.
    • The Apache helicopter was firing at a car driving fleeing from fire and poison gas because a bunch of insane Infected would totally do that...
      • See the It Can Think entry below for why this is actually plausible.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The infection has reached France by the end.
    • And assuming Andy's the one who spread it there -- and he probably is -- he and Tammy are likely dead.
  • It Can Think: The Infected in this movie seem to have a bit more going on upstairs than the ones in 28 Days Later, particularly Don who not only manages to survive the firebombing of District 1, but tracks his children through London all the way to the Underground. He also uses a gun as a blunt weapon when he kills Major Scarlett. He's not the only Infected to survive District 1, either, which implies he's not the only one who's retained some measure of intelligent reasoning.
    • All There in the Manual. A line in 28 Days Later: The Aftermath indicates that while the Rage virus causes the higher brain functions to atrophy after a few days, victims still retain a lot of their reasoning skills until then. Presumably as recent infectees, Don and the others in 28 Weeks Later hadn't yet reached that stage.
  • It Got Worse: The Movie!
  • Kick the Dog: The Movie! Of special note is Alice, who is left to die by her husband only to survive and eventually be found by the military, who discover she's a Rage carrier and plan to kill her, and then reignites the infection and winds up getting her eyes gouged out by the husband who ditched her.
  • The London Underground: Tammy and Andy are forced to travel through an Underground packed with corpses.
  • Love Hurts: And how. An estranged couple, each thinking the other dead, reunites and is happy that they're both alive and well... and kiss, starting the plague anew (and directly leading to the Eye Scream mentioned above).
  • Mismatched Eyes: Both Alice and Andy have one brown and one blue eye, a condition called heterochromia. This becomes important later when Alice is found alive, and is the only known person to become a carrier of the plague without succumbing to it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rampant.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Doyle might not have been torched if he had yelled out "US friendly, hold your fire!"
    • Perhaps, but he was standing in a cloud of poison gas, so he was dead either way.
  • Room Full of Zombies: One of the infected creates this by getting into a room of normal people during a lockdown.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: As Code Red was being executed, a survivor in a warehouse remarked, "We take one step out that door, if the infected don't get us, the snipers will."
    • Later, Major Scarlett was forced to navigate through a dark, dangerous subway to prevent being killed by Apache helicopters patrolling the poison-gas-filled streets. This results in an infected Don ambushing and beating her to death when she was searching for Andy. The children were able to make it to safety.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The virus spreads to France.
  • Synthetic Plague
  • Technically Living Zombie: The Infected, again.
  • This Loser Is You: Within the first ten minutes of the film, during the welcome back speech, the woman says "As you can see, District 1 is currently under the protection of the U.S. Army." This may have been replaced with "Look around. You're screwed.", which is clearly proven in the next ten minutes.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Virus wiped out the entire population of Britain in under a month, but apparently despite the fact that the Virus was only contained due Britain being an island, the U.S. Military deemed a mere six months to be enough time to adequately classify it as safe. Realistically, Britain would have been under a UN Quarantine for decades if not centuries to eliminate any lingering trace of The Virus before any attempt at recolonisation were attempted.
    • Despite its virulence, the disease was limited to infection by contact with bodily fluids, heavily limiting the risk under proper safety precautions. This combined with the pressure of the massive refugee population would have pushed the recolonization forward despite of the risks. The Idiot Ball is grabbed only when it's made apparent just how poor the security measures actually are, failing even at the most mundane level.
    • There are multiple instances throughout this movie where the virus would have been stopped if only the US military has placed guards, well, anywhere, really. Two kids are able to easily sneak out of the safety zone by running down the middle of the street. There should have been guards, heavy duty fencing, and gates at that bridge. There should have been full-time guards stationed outside the clean room that Alice was locked in, considering they knew she held a virus that was able to wipe out an entire country in a month. Raged Robert should have been noticed and caught within minutes in a well guarded facility. Seriously, was everyone on this detail just too proud to submit to guard duty?
  • Typhoid Mary: Alice is an asymptomatic Rage carrier, and it's implied at the end that Andy may have become one as well.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: About 15 minutes after the opening we're treated to a flashback to it.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Yet again.