I use to be a huge George Romero fan, then I re-watched most of his movies and stopped listening to college film students. Hearing that yet another Romero movie was being remade sent chills up my spine. Then I heard George wasn't directing this film and was instantly relieved. The Crazies is a pseudo-zombie inspired horror movie that asks the question: If a shotgun is fired at a minor league baseball game in small-town Iowa, will anyone hear it? The Crazies is a surprisingly competent horror movie that stays true to what I like about some of Romero's classics. Though the social commentary is heavy handed, having a horror movie comment on anything non-boob related is always worth the experience.
Director Brect Eisner, will have his hands full with cult and horror movie remakes for the next couple years -- being the front-man for both The Brood and Flash Gordon. Eisner does Romero's original justice by keeping the script and character development simple. The point of The Crazies -- much like most zombie lore -- is to show how much of a danger humans will always be to themselves when immediate catastrophe strikes. David Dutton, played by Timothy Olyphant, is the sheriff of Ogden Marsh citizens. When a local [Ogdenonian] shows up to a triple-A baseball game with a grayer-than-normal complexion accompanied with a fully loaded shotgun, Dutton is forced to investigate these freak occurrences further. Dutton's wife Judy, played by Radha Mitchell, is a local nurse who is separated from her husband and is forced into a containment camp for fear of being infected. The scene stealer is Dutton's deputy, Russel Clank, played by Joe Anderson. His Midwestern carefree attitude will have viewers confused as to if he's infected or was he born this crazy.
The symptoms of becoming a crazy is a rise in body temperature, which is tested upon capture by our shadowy government, and an increase in violent outburst. The Crazies will do little for horror buffs who watch it on DVD so it is very important to hear the sights and sounds of the hay fields of Ogden Marsh on a large screen with great sound. Though the theme of our government testing experimental bio-terrorism chemicals is read, given the source director of the source material, The Crazies is actually pretty engrossing. There are moments where characters are introduced, and as the viewer, you will expect them to die. The movie feels long, because of some pacing issues with Clank and Dutton's story that could have been trimmed up in order to get the ultimate point. However, the smaller silent scenes help build tension and Olyphant does a superb job leading the way through this strange and infected land he inhabits. Go for the car wash scene, stay for the knife hand.
The Crazies is the perfect date movie. Its insane to say, but a horror movie without constant jump scares and hairy beasts, works on so many levels when getting invested into this light story and the characters attached. The biological agent the civilians of Odgen Marsh were exposed to leads to our government reacting rash and harsh, which again, is a conversation we need to have in a much subtler manner when the next scene is followed by someone being stabbed in the throat. The Crazies is a good, long movie that knows what it is and is preachy but not distractingly so. Having simultaneous cult movies of the zombie, vampire and now werewolf variety, dulls the senses of how fresh a movie this good could have been. Take your friends, take your significant others, but don't take your mom or dad, they make look at you funny.
I Give The Crazies
The "Uncomfortable Image Of The Results Of An Incurable STD" Award