One of the latest additions to the onslaught of remakes to hit cinemas, Breck Eisner’s The Crazies irons the kinks out of George A. Romero’s 1973 original, leaving a horror movie whose style is evocative of other recent horrors.
Documenting the repercussions endured when the inhabitants of the small close-knit American town Ogden Marsh begin to display strange characteristics, the film’s storyline is somewhat predictable but one gets the feeling that the film is sometimes aware of its own limitations. Following the struggles of town sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his doctoring wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) as they flee for their lives, The Crazies provides some jump-out-of-your-seat worthy moments as well delivering occasionally witty dialogue.
The explanation behind why some of the townsfolk begin to stare vacantly into the distance before deciding to wield unyielding weapons at those nearest to them (causing the entire town to be herded into decontamination pens by masked members of the military) is an interesting one but is also a revelation that may feel too long in coming and doesn’t get enough focus.
The plague itself seems to affect people differently and its lack of continuity sometimes suggests that the filmmakers had a lot of good ideas at the film’s planning stages that they strung together with the sometimes wooden script. Though the film is scattered with stock characters and clichés, it is still an enjoyable movie and focuses on a very real possibility that hangs in the current social climate.
Injecting life into what some may consider a floundering genre, The Crazies utilises what audiences have come to expect from modern horror (blood, mentally deranged baddies, twists and why-are-you-going-in-there-alone moments) and squeezes some memorable scenes out from it; a particularly unforgettable one involving a brain saw crawling its way after Olyphant’s Dutton. This, mixed with the apparent indestructibility of some of the characters, gives both redeeming and enjoyably irksome qualities to the film’s protagonists.
Although the dialogue sometimes feels a little recycled, there are some gems to be found in The Crazies which is a watchable, if a little conventional, film.
Best bit; When Dutton is chased across a morgue by a saw.
Best line; Russell (Joe Anderson): ‘Is he dead?’, David: ‘Well if he is he wont mind waiting.’
Watch this if you liked: 30 Days of Night, 28 Days Later, Hills Have Eyes