Monday, July 5, 2010

Film Review: The Crazies (2010)


Crazy how all you have to do these days in order to remake a Romero film is start things off with some sort of shock scene to get the party started...then intro the credits with a Johnny Cash song (preferably one with elements of apocalypse and death)...followed by slick editing and a decent F/X budget...and voila! Instant Romero remake! The sad fact is....you may be able to remake most of Romero's films and come out head and shoulders above the the original as far as quality goes. George Andrew Romero was never a good filmmaker. There...I said it. He introduced a concept that really wasn't ever done before. The concept of zombies taking over the world while a few human survivors were left to fend for themselves as well as tackling human characteristic elements like greed, racism, the military, politics, etc. In the process of introducing said concept he cemented his immortality into the genre and was granted a free pass to do whatever the fuck he wanted for the rest of his sad career....all the while chasing his own legacy with recent attempts at showing his core audience why he was labeled the Grandfather of the Zombie...failing tragically.

This isn't a commentary on why Romero sucks decaying zombie cock. I mean...I love Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and (my personal favorite) Day of the Dead. I also kind of enjoyed his 1973 effort The Crazies...for its premise and charm but, couldn't help thinking that the film could benefit from a bigger budget and a good strong cast that took the script that Romero conceived and improve on it. Cue Breck Eisner and his 2010 version with the same name. I was hoping for something akin to Zack Snyder's version of Dawn of the Dead that he made in 2004. Not so much.


Now...when all is said and done. I really wanted to like this version much more than I did. In fact...it's not a bad movie, per se. It's just not the vast improvement I was hoping for. It's got all the bells and whistles that a slick American movie production can offer. Beautiful blood-splattering gore in all its HD glory in several concoctions. But, for all the great F/X budgeting and lens mastery exhibited the one thing missing is the good story-telling charm that Romero once possessed. While I enjoy how we're thrown into the action of The Crazies so early, I think that it is also the crux of the film. We're not given a sufficient amount of time to really get to know the characters and the details of this mysterious virus that is turning the town folk into murderous lunatics. It's basically turned into your run-of-the-mill infected running around killing people survival flick. It's a shame that this version didn't build on the story-telling of the original. You got the always reliable Timothy Olyphant as your town sheriff...you got the many layers of acting that Radha Mitchell usually brings into any film...and you don't have much for these two actors to do here.


I would've liked to see them take the virus infection a little more seriously. Like...is it only communicable through the water supply? If so...then, wouldn't have been cheaper and more people friendly to just have the town folk drink bottled water...instead of bringing in the military to blow up the Goddamn place?? Ok...so, you tell me that it can be spread by blood and bodily fluids. Well, then, there are several scenes where blood comes into contact with the main character and the infected...and yet....nothing happens to said main character. Is it air born? Who the fuck knows?? I mean...a little consistency goes a long way in a film like this. Us genre-lovin' folk ain't all dumb.


Joe Anderson does a great job here. He's the deputy to Olyphant's sheriff...but, his acting star shines bright. If this were a better film Eisner would've made better use of the ambiguity Anderson brings later on regarding the virus. Is he infected?? Is he just driven to craziness due to the circumstances?? That would've been kinda cool. Instead...the layers he brings to the role are reduced down to a single one-note player. Shame.
                        

In summation...the film isn't bad considering the crap that you see released every weekend at the multiplex. It's just not as good as it could have been and usually...when you wanna remake a film you should take into account every aspect in making it what it could be instead of falling prey to some of the mistakes from the first time around...or creating new flaws. Sometimes it's even worse to watch a film with so much potential going for it...because you can see where it could've been improved. Maybe use some Danzig instead of Johnny Cash to separate yourself from the other better remakes. I'm just sayin'.


The Crazies gets a 6 out of 10. Definitely one of those "Hey that movie I've been meaning to watch is on Cinemax tonight" kinda films.





Thanks for reading,

bryan.










I'd sit through 3 hours of watching Radha battle the infected with nothing but blue high heels on.

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