Zombies, killer sheep on the prowl

 
 
  • Survivors of a

    Survivors of a "rage virus" outbreak roam the deserted streets of London in "28 Weeks Later."

Published: 10/8/2007 11:26 PM

"28 Weeks Later" -- Here's a rarity: a horror sequel that is as fresh, dramatic and scary as the original. "28 Weeks Later" is the follow-up to 2002's sleeper hit, "28 Days Later." In that earlier film, England was overrun by the "rage virus," an easily transmittable contagion that turns its victims into zombielike, cannibalistic monsters. The sequel takes up the story seven months later, when a U.S.-led military team has declared the infection over and reopened a portion of London for repopulation. This allows Don, one of the lucky ones who survived the outbreak, to be reunited with his two children, Andy and Tammy. Don, played by the great Scottish actor Robert Carlyle, tells his children that their mother had been killed by one of the infected. He leaves out a crucial detail, though: When the horde of zombies attacked, he ran away instead of helping his trapped wife. Meanwhile, a survivor is found, infected but still healthy. The U.S. soldiers occupying London debate how to handle this carrier, but before they can do anything, another outbreak occurs. This is a top-shelf horror movie, dark and incredibly violent with well-drawn characters and a bleak final scene that will haunt you for days. The DVD includes a director's commentary, deleted scenes and a cool animated segment that brings to life parts of a graphic novel based on the "28 Days Later" story. (R; Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98)

"You Kill Me" -- The great Ben Kingsley plays a hit man with a drinking problem in this quirky comedy from director John Dahl. Frank Falenczyk, the key hired gun for a Polish mob family in Buffalo, sleeps through an important hit. Furious, his mob boss uncle forces him to enter an Alcoholics Anonymous group in San Francisco. There, Frank tries to get his life together with the help of a girlfriend (Tea Leoni) and his A.A. sponsor (Luke Wilson). Dahl ("The Last Seduction") specializes in mixing comedy with crime stories, and this is one of his best. Kingsley, Leoni and Wilson all give pitch-perfect performances, and the film is packed with great supporting turns by Phillip Baker Hall, Dennis Farina and Bill Pullman. The DVD includes a commentary and a making-of featurette. (R; Genius Products, $19.95)

"Black Sheep" -- In this nutty horror-comedy, the lambs do the slaughtering! The basic plot: A demented New Zealand farmer conducts genetic experiments on his sheep, turning them into vicious killers. His kindly brother arrives to save the farm, but not before the sheep get to do a whole lot of chomping and killing. "Black Sheep" would be a great capper to a Halloween film festival, especially if you're the kind of movie fan who might laugh at the sight of a person using his own chewed-off foot to fend off a killer sheep. (I laughed out loud, by the way.) (NR; Genius Products, $24.95)

Also out today:

• "Poltergeist: 25th Anniversary Edition" -- This was the first movie that really scared the daylights out of me in a movie theater. (I still have trouble watching the clown scene!) The film looks great on this new DVD, but I was disappointed to see that there are virtually no special features included. (PG; Warner Home Video, $19.98)

• "Family Ties: Season Two" -- I was ready to cringe when I popped this into the player, but this classic '80s sitcom about ex-hippie parents and their Reagan-era kids actually holds up pretty well. Michael J. Fox shines in these shows, but cast members Justine Bateman and Michael Gross hold their own. This four-disc set comes with some nice retrospective interviews. (Paramount, $42.99)