Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Crazies (2010)

I liked this movie, even though there is nothing new or original about it, and not just because it's a remake. It's basically just another zombie movie, but at least it's a well made one with lots of good scares. As I said, I liked it, but I wasn't totally crazy about it. Ha ha ha...

The original film was made by George A. Romero in 1973, back when he still attempted to make films that weren't completely tied-into his zombie universe. It told the story of a biological weapon that was created by the government and accidentally released into a small town, where the citizens began to turn into mindless, homicidal maniacs. It told the story from the points of view of the citizens fighting for the lives, the scientists who created the virus, and the politicians and officials dealing with the fall out and eventual cover up of the disaster. It was a smart, clever, thrilling film that dealt with paranoia, fear of government conspiracy, and a look at what happens when a small town is thrown into chaos. This remake tells the same story, but it mostly eschews all of that plot, political intrigue, and subtext in favor of just upping the gore and the intensity of the scares.

And that's fine, since the scares are so good and the set pieces are so thrilling, but it does make the film feel a little hollow over all. We see very little of the scientists who created the virus here, nor do we learn much about its creation or who's trying to contain the outbreak. All we really see are about four or five characters who attempt to survive the outbreak and escape the town. The film follows the following formula: The stars enter an area where they get attacked by the Crazies until the escape and enter the next area where they are attacked by crazies. This is incredibly repetitive, and it is made watchable (not to mention very fun) only because each set piece is so exceptional. My favorite bit was when the stars got trapped in an automatic carwash. If you're like me and find carwashes to be incredibly claustrophobic and scary in the real world, this scene will make you want to die. It's scary stuff.

The cast is good, even though they are rarely given much to do beyond running, screaming, and occasionally looking at the carnage around them. My boy Tim Olyphant stars as "The Sheriff of a small town," and he doesn't disappoint in the role. Radha Mitchell is his wife, who already went through the same basic plot in Silent Hill. She's very pretty and plays scared well, for whatever that's worth. Then there were some other characters, all of whom were fine, especially when they all died horrible. (Spoiler!)

So check it out if you just want to watch a pretty good thriller with lots of gore and great scares. I'm a fairly jaded horror fan who has seen it all at this point, but this film still made me jump and cringe in places. It doesn't reinvent the wheel (or even do all that much to reinvent the Crazies for that matter), but it's a perfectly good scare machine that's worth watching if that's all you want. I liked it. 

1 comment:

bubbasmom said...

And there was a GREAT scene in a car wash. I've never looked at a car wash the same way since seeing that!