The Crazies

After standing around in a field with literally thousands of unwashed people listening to music at a sternum-punching volume, things tend to get forgotten. Having now returned to the real world and recovered, it’s time to return to what I do adequately- review films. As it happens, I have seen a film. And here is my review:

The Crazies (2010)
Aside from the casual misogyny, liberal use of words that would make my grandmother disown me and general shittiness, one of the main things this blog could be criticised for is the lack of horror reviews. I’ll admit this now, I don’t really see eye-to-eye with horror as a genre. It either fails to penetrate the ever-thickening bubble of numbness I imagine myself to be in or it scares the shit out of me and I never want to watch it again for fear of ruining all my good underwear. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed horror films, it’s just that in entertainment terms, I find the horror genre to be patchier than a Hiroshima lawn. Anyway, bear with me whilst I inexpertly stab at The Crazies.

“Don’t ask me why I can’t leave without my wife and I won’t ask you why you can.”

The Crazies is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name. The super-shiny modern version concerns small hick town Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) as he and his wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell) become embroiled in a town-wide spread of a dangerous virus that causes people to go batshit crazy and homicidal. The plot is your standard zombie plot, i.e. some epidemic breaks and everyone but the most conventionally attractive turn into slavering monsters. Still, it’s fun enough to not be a problem. Timothy Olyphant played himself again, with a dodgy moustache. Olyphant’s an interesting actor, because I can never nail down if he can actually act or not. He’s been great in some things (Deadwood springs to mind), but usually he brings a conflicting on-the-fence type of performance to the table that flits between good and wooden. The Crazies is a good example of this. The standout for me was Dutton’s deputy, Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) who lights a fire under the film’s arse when our heroes aren’t being attacked.

The film is basically a zombie film without the zombies, if that makes sense. All the hallmarks of a modern zombie tale are present- George A. Romero’s involved, it’s a bit shit etc…but there’s a clear distinction between the mentalists depicted here and the living impaired. A distinction I enjoyed. There’s been a zombie overkill in pretty much every form of media these past few years and be they the slow, shuffling type or the fast, rip-your-face-off type, I’m starting to grow weary of them. The titular “crazies” are like normal people except totally driven by rage. They can also use weapons, an ability which allows ample gore to be shown, as exemplified in one fork-happy scene. There’s a great scene in a morgue too, which almost definitely references Goldfinger at one point.

The Crazies starts to lose its way when the military show up. I’ve seen countless films where the military barrel in and act like macho pricks to the detriment of doing anything helpful, so when the film started to focus on them rather than the crazies, I began to zone out. The film’s called The Crazies, not The Army Douches, so hows about you pan left to where those crazy people are doing something violent and interesting? The scares weren’t that great either. They came in two flavours- standard jump scare, coupled with screech of music or prolonged scare in which something gore-tastic happens. You won’t find any innovative horror here. The ending as well was pretty weak and had shades of a certain archaeologist’s lowest ebb. Even after all the weird goings-on, it still felt like a step too far, cutting the wires that were suspending my disbelief and sending it crashing to the ground. It’s not horrible, but I felt it deserved better.

“Boo-fucking-yah!”

So, yes. The Crazies was alright. It hasn’t changed my black or white outlook on horror, but it has made me consider giving the genre another chance as I accidentally enjoyed it. It’s a perfect rental if you fancy something a bit scary and Blockbuster have run out of all the good films. Tentatively recommended.

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