– Summary –
Director : Breck Eisner
Year Of Release : 2010
Principal Cast : Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Preston Bailey.
Approx Running Time : 101 Minutes
Synopsis: A mysterious illness begins to wipe out the population of a small town in central USA; when the military arrives to contain the outbreak, a local Sherriff and his wife, along with a rag-tag gang of survivors, must try and escape the oncoming purge.
What we think : Slick, stylish, by-the-numbers remake is actually pretty decent, thanks mainly to the convincing performances of both Olyphant and Mitchell. Like a nightmare you can’t wake from, The Crazies has just enough scares and just enough moral ambiguity to maintain the excitement and thrills. Worth a look.
Hollywood’s track record of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings has a checkered history at best, with results of most remakes ranging from average to pretty poor. The Crazies is a remake, and the filmmakers have gone out on a limb and remake one from The Master – George A Romero (Dawn Of The Dead etc). Well, if you’re gonna go down swinging, swing at the best, I say. The Crazies isn’t a unique story, nor is it an original genre concept overall, but as a film it is entertaining. When a mysterious illness strikes the townsfolk of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, and people begin to transform into violent, unhinged crazy-people, the sheriff, David (Olyphant) and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), together with David’s deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) and a group of other survivors, must navigate their way through military checkpoints, crazed farm folk and vicious, violent thugs in order to survive. Cue plenty of near-death, edge-of-your-seat action sequences and scares, as car crashes, bombs and various other violent methods of destruction ensue. The Crazies isn’t as ultra-violent as a lot of the go-for-gore remakes coming down the pike these days, although there is some good blood and guts when it counts. It’s not what you’d call gratuitous, however.
While he may have caused a few head-scratching sessions back at the studio boardroom for his efforts on Sahara, director Breck Eisner makes some pretty good decisions with The Crazies. Eisner strikes me as a style-over-substance director, the kind of visual artist who spends more time thinking about cinematography and angles than the actual story. Thankfully, he shows restraint here, with a tightly wound nightmare of a film where everyone, even the main cast, are potential victims. The production value on The Crazies seems pretty decent, which affords the epic, widescreen destruction a zombie/thriller/horror film needs to sell the world in which it’s set. The cast, specifically Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, absolutely absorb their characters and deliver the material with the conviction it needs to work. Not everyone here has the glory of being the hero character, and even Olyphant’s town sheriff character is flawed to a degree – everyone sucks up the blood and terror and delivers the goods. Eisner manages to bring the tension to an alarmingly high level, even though the final act, in which our heroes have to outrun an explosion, feels a little corny. No, it feels a lot of corny. It was a little silly compared to the previous 90 minutes of excellent tension and sweaty-palm movie making. The Crazies update comes recommended for anyone who enjoys scary films and well made thrillers.