28 Weeks Later (2004)
I recently re-watched 28 Weeks Later and was struck again by the whole bloody drama of it all. Not drama like Mean Girls, TOWIE or RuPaul’s Drag Race – no, drama as in super intense scenes where eyes are gorged, the infected run fast and blood is continually shed. For a sequel 28 Weeks Later isn’t bad at all.
And whilst the cool ideas, sped up camera work and insane gory bits of course contribute to the overall effect, a lot of the cred for this intensity should be given…..nay, MUST be given, to the film’s soundtrack.
I’m lucky to own a copy of this. It’s rare (1500 manufactured) and, for what it is, pretty damn expensive. I mean if it were the price of a Louis Vuitton handbag or a 4K flat screen TV it’d be a bargain. But it’s a CD. So it’s a lot to ask for a CD. I’d been looking for a ‘reasonably’ priced copy for years and didn’t hold much hope of finding one for less than £100. And for a poor little working class prole like myself that basically means I didn’t hold much hope of ever owning it.
The reason I wanted this particular CD so badly was partly because of it’s rarity and partly because I own the first soundtrack which is far easier to get your hands on (and which I reviewed here) but also because I genuinely love the truly stunning music in this movie. It is breathtaking, truly breathtaking. The fact that both this and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine were released in the same year (2007) and composed by the same man (John Murphy) is no surprise at all.
Both scores are heavenly, ethereal and honestly soooo beautiful. In fact there’s a couple of tracks on 28 Weeks Later which are completely reminiscent of Adagio in D Minor (the Sunshine theme) – tracks 5 and 22 both heavily remind me of this score and the deep, rich atmosphere.
Now obviously I own soundtracks that I just adore for the music. I also have soundtracks that might be worth cool points with fellow geeks. I even own soundtracks that are rare and a little bit valuable… But I don’t often find one that score (all puns intended) full marks on everything.
And that is exactly what this soundtrack is. PERFECT IN EVERY WAY.
It was actually on holiday in 2018 whilst staying in LA that I found it. And yeah I casually dropped that into blog conversation whilst wearing my make believe Ray Ban sunglasses – e.g. Primark. And I’d found it at a price I could afford! Yay! $30.00 in the absolute aladdin’s cave that is Amoeba Music – such a cool shop. I bought a hella lot of soundtracks that trip, most of them only a dollar or so, but this was the double chocolate icing on my cherry cake.
So I’m sure we’re all familiar with the brilliant In the House/ In a Heartbeat that plays in 28 Day’s Later climatic final scenes as Cillian Murphy battles the infected and the rain and the horrible rapist soldiers – yuck. It’s definitely an extremely well known and popular score, there’s tons of remixes on YouTube and in fact, I think it’s even broken out of movie land, appreciated by one and all who hear it, wherever that may be. The slow, atmospheric build-up which leads into a huge, dramatic crescendo is hard to beat.
But John Murphy takes that incredible score from the first movie and turns it into something far bigger. Whilst 28 Days Later had one great score and an average at best rest of soundtrack, this whole collection is outstanding.
Alongside the reprises of In the House / In a Heartbeat (particularly with tracks 1 and 10) I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the soundtrack is some classic symphony from start to finish (as some soundtracks are) but it’s pretty darn close and the music is beautiful, divine, despairing, spine tingling, gorgeous, magnificent and unforgettable. Truly one of the best. And then you have a full 13 minute interview at the end with John Murphy too.
Spectacular soundtrack. And upon reflection, probably worth the bigger bucks too.