31 Days of Horror: Day #22 THE CRAZIES
Remakes rarely manage to measure up to the originals, and that seems especially true when talking about horror film remakes. There are exceptions, of course. Horror master George A. Romero has seen a few of his films receive the remake treatment. Those remakes have actually been rather decent for the most part. The Night of the Living Dead remake has its fans. The Dawn of the Dead remake from Zack Snyder is stylish and cool. And, well, let’s not talk about the Day of the Dead remake… Let’s talk about The Crazies instead.
George A. Romero wrote and directed The Crazies in 1973. It was a low-budget film that featured violence and the collapse of society, things seen in many of Romero’s best work. Romero’s The Crazies is not a great film, though. And while I don’t want to call the 2010 remake of The Crazies a great film either, I do think that it’s one of those rare remakes that’s superior to the original.
The Crazies is about a small farming town in Iowa that’s losing its mind. A military plane carrying a biological weapon went down in the river and it’s poisoning the town’s water supply. People start acting strange before eventually becoming violent, turning on their families and neighbors. The military quickly moves in and puts the town under quarantine, but it’s clear they’re not really there to help. The film focuses on the town’s sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) as he tries to get his wife and friends out of town safely.
The film is directed by Breck Eisner, whose credits include the awful adventure movie Sahara and the dull looking Vin Diesel fantasy film The Last Witch Hunter (in theaters now!). I don’t consider myself a fan of Eisner, but The Crazies proves he can deliver when he has the right script. The Crazies is a handsome looking film with a dark, nihilistic worldview. Just when you think you’ve seen the worst that the characters will go through, The Crazies says, ‘Oh no, son, it can always get worse!’
Apocalyptic entertainment is popular now. I like the genre, personally, and I write my own apocalyptic storylines with some regularity. What I like about The Crazies is that it’s not an end of the world thriller, but it remains an apocalyptic tale, though on a smaller scale. We see the town lose its way, come under attack, and burn to ash with alarming speed. While the infected mad men running around are frightening, one of the film’s most terrifying moments features a trio of good ol’ boys who are using this opportunity to hunt down their fellow man, piling bodies into the back of their pickup truck like human hunting season is in full swing. The monster is us, but the film thankfully avoids getting pretentious and spelling it out for us.
I really like this movie. It’s dark, stylish, scary, and thrilling. Plus, Timothy Olyphant is cool. The movie’s like Raylan Givens vs. the Apocalypse. It would’ve made for a weird final season of Justified, but you know I’d be watching it.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of books and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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