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The Crazies (2010)


Things to be scared of in a horror movie:

  • Dolls
  • Clowns
  • Power tools
  • Your house
  • Cars
  • Dead people

Now, thanks to George Romero, the master of the modern zombie movie, we can add one more item to this list: Your friends and neighbors.

The Crazies is the 2010 remake of the George Romero science fiction horror film of the same name about a town that becomes infected with the “trixie” virus, designed by the military to destabilize the population by turning them psychotic and murderous. It stars Timothy “Scream 2” Olyphant, Radha “Pitch Black” Mitchell, Joe “I am not Kurt Cobain” Anderson, Danielle “Mr. Brooks” Panabaker, Preston “Dexter” Bailey, John “Armageddon” Aylward, and Larry “Pinocchio’s Revenge” Cedar.

It starts fairly simply. In Ogden County, the local sheriff, David (Olyphant), is watching a baseball game when his deputy, Russell (Anderson), spots Rory Hamill, a local resident and town drunk, walking into the field bearing a shotgun. David confronts Rory, but is forced to shoot him. David and his wife Judy (Mitchell) start to notice strange behavior in the other residents, usually some variation of staring blankly into space and repeating a phrase or sentence, but eventually escalating into violence, as with a local farmer who locks his wife and son in a closet and torches their house. When David and Russell investigate a local’s story about a plane crashing in a nearby swamp, they soon discover that whatever the cause is, it is likely military, and their worst fears are proven true when the military moves in to quarantine the town. Now, caught between the military and his own neighbors turned psychotic, David tries to get himself and Judy out of what is quickly turning into a Crazy-infested warzone.

There is a certain level of low-grade terror in the idea that your neighbors and family – people that you’ve known your entire life – could suddenly snap out and go on a rampage. Add to this the threat of a disease that anyone can catch, plus the fact that it was deliberately created by the military (another group we are taught to trust) as a weapon, and you’ve got some high octane paranoia fuel. On the bright side, the military are swiftly taking responsibility for the outbreaks, but on the dark side this means (like it usually does) eliminating absolutely everyone in the area. How do you escape? How can you tell healthy friends from infected Crazies? Add to this the fact that a loved one has been unfairly marked as infected, and you get a pretty nerve-wracking little horror movie.

The acting was… decent. While zombie movies are not known for attracting Grade-A acting talent, I think the cast did well with the material they were given. I haven’t seen the original (but plan to), so I can’t compare whether the remake was an improvement or not. The makeup effects were well-done as well, having been developed with real-life diseases in mind, with the ultimate goal of making it look “real”, like something that you could actually catch from the Crazies. The final result combined elements of rabies, tetanus, and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. The makeup studio used, Almost Human, previously did work in films like Quarantine, Franken Fish, and Prom Night, and aimed for a “hyper alive” look rather than the listless tenacity of traditional walking dead.

As zombie movies go, The Crazies took a traditional concept and sent it in the direction only recently being explored by filmmakers: the non-undead rage zombie. As a contribution to this subtype, it doesn’t add anything new, but it does well enough for what it is. I would rent this again in a heartbeat.

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  1. 02/17/2011 at 2:41 pm

    Make sure you check out the 70s Romero original of this film. The atmosphere, terror and ideas are much more astute though it is incredibly cheap to look at.

    • 02/17/2011 at 3:39 pm

      I do plan to pick up the original. It’s always fun to see how a remake either pays homage to or utterly rapes the original 🙂

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