A remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film of the same name, The Crazies goes right to the source for tried-and-true terror.
The residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, have begun acting strangely: Dazed, out of it. Then they begin acting violently, killing mercilessly until eventually dying themselves.
As town sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant, Live Free or Die Hard) tries to figure out what’s going on, he also needs to keep his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell, Surrogates) safe from both the “crazies” and a government “cleanup” of the situation.
Things we liked about the movie:
1. The Crazies is legitimate nightmare fodder. Director Breck Eisner (Sahara) is able to capture the audience in lingering suspense, throwing some surprises at you without the movie becoming too jumpy. It’s violent and even gruesome, but without relying on the gore for shock value. And since these “crazies” are essentially zombies that know how to fire guns and light houses on fire, the threat level is consistently high throughout the entire film.
2. The cast was very well-assembled. Each actor specializes at what he or she does for this film. Olyphant as the protector who knows how to handle a gun, Mitchell as the not-quite-helpless damsel who makes a great screaming face, Joe Anderson (Across the Universe) as the loyal deputy with a screw or two loose, and Danielle Panabaker (Sky High) as the terrified teen, tearily asking, “Is this really happening?” Their performances really drive the horror home.
3. The townspeople affected by the sickness had excellent makeup, complete with veins popping out of their faces and near inhuman eyes.
Things we disliked about the movie:
1. Even though we previously compared the “crazies” to zombies, the movie doesn’t follow a set of rules like zombie movies do. At one point our hero has an open wound that comes in contact with blood from an infected person, and if this were a zombie movie he’d become a zombie. But we had to remind ourselves this wasn’t a zombie movie. It was a little confusing.
2. The “crazies” were a little inconsistent in their lucidity as well. Most of them yelled or made no noise at all, but one infected woman spoke in complete sentences. It was also confusing.
3. There were some pretty gaping plot holes as far as logistics go. Our hero manages to get from Point A to Point B by the time the movie cuts to the next scene, and then they spend several days trying to get back from Point B to Point A. How did he get back so fast in the first place?
All in all, it’s good to see another legitimately scary Romero remake back in theaters again. Zombie films have become a little goofy of late, not that we don’t love “zomedies” like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, but we enjoy movies that get back to the basics.