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Bugs, of the horror movie variety: viruses, CGI locusts and Ashley Judd

Over the weekend, I got a chance to watch a few films that I was tempted to see in the theater, but didn’t. Two gave me the creeps. The third was a waste of time.

31db4-2828 Weeks Later: Most sequels aren’t any good because they are money-making devices that capitalize on the success of the original film by repackaging its contents and offering nothing new. With “28 Weeks Later,” you know what’s going to happen, but the concept continues to be disturbing and, therefore, works.

Horror films about infectious diseases are some of the most frightening to me. Two earlier movies that come to mind are the 1985 film “Warning Sign,” about a deadly bacteria outbreak in a laboratory; and “Cujo,” the 1983 Stephen King tale of a rabies-infected St. Bernard that becomes a real-life monster to woman and her son trapped in a car.

The original film, “28 Days Later,” is about an infection that spreads throughout England, rapidly transforming everyone exposed into raging cannibals. The plot sounds a little over the top, but unlike other “zombie” genre movies, the virus is the thread of realism that makes it more frightening, and “28 Weeks Later” didn’t disappoint. Since sequels come in threes, I suspect “28 Months Later” is in the works, and I wonder if it will be set in the United States.

34011-bugBug: Ashley Judd plays a very emotionally disturbed domestic abuse victim, who has also lost her young son. When a new man takes an interest in her, she’s initially distant. But as she grows to know him, she becomes so desperate to have someone in her life, she’s willing to overlook his emotional problems, which intensify throughout the film.

It’s an interesting psychological exploration told in a way that makes you question the couple’s sanity until the end, and the film will probably make you itch. The movie relied heavily on good performances, and the cast delivered.

33136-reapingThe Reaping: Another genre I generally find interesting is the apocalyptic horror film, whether it involves nuclear war, a global natural disaster or Biblical prophecy.

“The Reaping” sounded a little like the 1988 movie “The Seventh Sign,” so I decided to see if it was as effective. While Hilary Swank deserves her two previous Oscars, and I hope to see her in other movies, I’m not sure who managed to talk her into this one.

Apparently, strange things are happening in a small Louisiana town, and all indications point to the end of the world. A river has turned to blood, there’s lots of CGI locusts flying around, and I think a few other plagues happen that I can’t remember.

There’s also an eerie child running around in the forest who looks like she could benefit from some Bath & Body Works products, and an actor from England (David Morrissey) who must believe all Southerners sound like Elvis. We don’t.

I’m not exactly sure why all the plagues seem to be solely confined to this small town. I mean, were people in New Orleans, and even Jackson, affected by the CGI locusts? At least “The Seventh Sign” attempted to convey that the plagues were happening globally in different areas of the world, which seems a bit more reasonable than having everything happen in one place. My advice: Skip it and rent the other two.

Have you seen any good movies this year? If so, tell me what they were.

Got a comment? E-mail me at or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.



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