Review: The Crazies
PLOT: A mysterious toxin infects a small townís water supply, turning most of the inhabitants into psychotic killers. After the non-infected residents are rounded up by the military, the townís sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) escapes, and heads back into the quarantined town to save his wife (Radha Mitchell), whoís been left to fend for herself among the infected, aka: THE CRAZIES.
REVIEW: I havenít had the chance to watch George A. Romeroís version of THE CRAZIES yet, but from what Iíve heard, itís not among his best films, which probably makes a remake not such a bad idea, as far as remakes go. Iíve been looking forward to catching THE CRAZIES ever since seeing the effective trailers that made nice use of Gary Julesí cover of Mad World (which figured prominently in DONNIE DARKO). I figured at worst, this would be a passable horror flick, and I was right. THE CRAZIES is exactly that- passable..
Itís fairly well directed by Breck Eisner (with the exception of some goofy CGI GPS shots), who previously shot the much-maligned SAHARA, with this film establishing a nice horror-action tone that reminded me of eighties John Carpenter films, like PRINCE OF DARKNESS, or THEY LIVE (without the humor or epic fist fight- damn, I need to watch that again!). I like the fact that, while definitely a hard-R, THE CRAZIES didnít go too overboard in the gore department, and become cartoony like several other horror flicks Iíve seen lately.
THE CRAZIES also boasts a fairly solid cast. Olyphant makes a great hero, with his character here having more than a little in common with his character from the late, great DEADWOOD. He plays your typical, strong, silent hero type, and, along with the rather easy on the eyes Radha Mitchell, is easy to root for. Both of them are terribly underrated, especially Mitchell, who hasn't really gotten the roles she deserves lately.
Another actor worth mentioning is Joe Anderson, a British actor that looks more than a little like Kurt Cobain, and was also in one of my favorite films from the last few years, CONTROL. He plays the doomed deputy sidekick, and his role seems to be something of homage to the great Roger character from the original DAWN OF THE DEAD, with him lightening things up a bit for most of the film.
What keeps THE CRAZIES from being a really exceptional genre flick is the fact that, after a promising start, things just gets extremely predictable and ho-hum. Right from the time the citizens start getting rounded-up, youíll know exactly where this is going, with this just devolving into yet another zombie (or quasi-zombie) flick, and nothing you havenít seen a million times before. Obviously this was closely modeled on Zack Snyderís DAWN OF THE DEAD remake (right down to the use of a Johnny Cash track to start things off), but Snyder really brought a lot of things to that film that really made it better than it ever should have been, but Eisnerís not quite in Snyderís league yet.
The pacing also really starts to lag towards the end, and the conclusion is as generic as can be, despite a couple of goofy fake-news reports during the end credits, which certainly donít add anything to what weíve already seen.
Still, for what it is, THE CRAZIES isnít half bad. For the most part, I had an OK time with it, but itís definitely an ďin one ear, out the otherĒ type thing, and Iím already starting to forget the film as I type this. Too bad though, there was enough talent here to make this more than what it ultimately is.