Home > Reviews > 28 WEEKS LATER – John Murphy

28 WEEKS LATER – John Murphy

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

28 Weeks Later is the sequel to Danny Boyle’s nightmarish 2002 horror movie 28 Days Later, this time directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and starring Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau and Catherine McCormack. Set in the immediate aftermath of the horrific ‘Rage’ virus that either wiped out the majority of Britain’s population or turned them into rabid zombies, it tells the story of a family of survivors who were neither killed nor ‘infected’, and their efforts to re-integrate into a similarly uninfected community being protected by US and NATO troops, while all the while avoiding the still ever-present threat posed by the remaining plague zombies.

Returning to fulfill scoring duties is English composer John Murphy, who has been getting much higher profile scoring assignments lately. It opens with the hypnotic electric guitar-led “28 Theme”, which is oddly disquieting in its simplicity, as the best horror scores often are – remember Halloween and Friday the 13th. Murphy’s score is generally more electronic than orchestral, more ambient and atmospheric than theme-led, but despite this less-than-promising sounding description, much of the music is very engaging, creating a sort of distorted and detached atmosphere of dream-like fear which perfectly accentuates the film’s sense of horrific hyper-reality.

The action cues – “Helicopter Chase” tend to play like industrial rock instrumentals, with incessant electronic rhythms, intentionally jarring music editing, and processed effects dominating. There’s also some quite haunting and elegiac stuff, notably in cues such as “Fire-Bombing London”, “London Deserted” and the surprisingly moving “Kiss of Death”, which clearly is adopting the tried-and-tested juxtaposition technique by playing harmonically attractive music over scenes of desperation and deprivation to heighten their emotional impact.

Its good stuff, and I actually surprised myself by liking it as much as I did, considering that my musical tastes don’t usually extend into this style of writing. Murphy’s score was never released commercially in stores, and is only available as an iTunes download.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • 28 Theme (3:57)
  • Welcome to Britain (2:25)
  • Helicopter Chase (1:41)
  • Fire-Bombing London (2:38)
  • Theme 1 (1:53)
  • Walk to Regents Park (2:54)
  • Kiss of Death (2:53)
  • Don Abandons Alice (2:59)
  • London Deserted (2:24)
  • Go Go Go! (2:10)
  • Theme 2 (2:33)
  • Knock Knock/Cottage Attack (2:30)
  • Night Watch (1:56)
  • Code Red (2:29)
  • Going Home (2:38)
  • Tammy Kills Her Dad (2:20)
  • Crowd Breaks Out (1:48)
  • Outbreak (3:06)
  • Leaving England (2:36)
  • Theme 3 (End Credits) (2:38)

Running Time: 50 minutes 32 seconds

Fox Music iTunes exclusive (2007)

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