The Crazies: a two-headed review.

Director: Breck Eisner (2010)
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker
Find it online: IMDB

Something special for alla y'all today. Featuring the guest voice of an actual, real human female (with breasts and everything). It's a review of the recent Crazies remake. Not only is the girl a girl, but she doesn't like horror either. How will a non-horror-fan lady react to The Crazies? Is it a movie you should take your ladyfriend to see?!? Tune in to find out.

The Crazies

Based on the George Romero cult classic, The Crazies sees a small American town go looney mental after their drinking water is poisoned during an incident with an aeroplane. Sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) and pregnant doctor wife Judy (Mitchell) are amongst the not-mad people, fighting for survival against the zombielike Crazies and, because the military love to cover things up, the American military.

Romero's original saw the director explore military procedure, totalitarialism, and lots of anti-Vietnam subtext. Those expecting something similar in Eisner's original will surely come away disappointed. There's not much in the way of subtext to this, so those expecting Romero levels of social commentary or intelligence will find themselves left sorely wanting. But, like the Dawn of the Dead remake, the action is ramped up and you'll find yourself a jump-scare every five minutes (even I squealed like a bitch at one point). The action and [ohfuckjumpscare!] helps distract from the lack of grey cells, but results in a rather vapid movie.

Because, once you stop and think about it, there's a whole bunch of plot holes and stuff that simply doesn't make sense. We see the town tightly locked down by the government, yet Dutton manages to sneak back in within the space of a scene - with no explanation as to how he pulled it off. There's a videogame level of pacing; the characters move from one set piece to another, fight some Crazies/soldiers, then move on to another location. This works well for the pace and the action, but stops the movie from gelling fully as a whole. There's nothing larger at play, just the Sheriff, his missus and hangers-on traipsing from scene to scene; usually rescuing the ladyfolk from awful peril or hiding in dark corners from Crazies/soldiers.

But The Crazies is so much fun. Romero's original is undeniably a slow-burner, to the extent where I can hardly remember watching it in the first place. Elements of this remain here (particularly in the initial investigation scenes) but the emphasis is set firmly on action and shocks. There are several standout action scenes, my favourite of which is a pretty original one set in a carwash, and Olyphant's encounter with a crazyman morgue attendant.

And talking of Olyphant, well, The Crazies continues my worrying man-crush on Timothy Olyphant (started up in the bum-tastic Perfect Getaway), who is all kinds of Bruce-Campbell-awesome in this movie. Radha Mitchell doesn't have much to do, but she does it well, and I do find her adorable. Joe Anderson does well as the town's deputy, making an otherwise thin character likeable. Danielle Panabaker fares less well. But then, she has literally nothing to do other than scream and cry.

All in all, The Crazies is a fun, adrenaline-boosted little action ditty which manages not to put the Romero predecessor to shame. Sure, it's vacuous, a little lunkheaded and paper-thin, but it has a sense of fun, some damn good action and plenty of scares. You'd be crazy to miss it.

The Crazies (still)

Insanity is Infectious – an apt tagline for Breck Eisner's remake of the 1973 film The Crazies. OK so the name doesn’t exactly cause a nervous shudder for the majority of the 15 and overs, but spare a thought for the avid hater of horror films - who still does not have the sense to refuse a trip down Terror Avenue. I knew that The Crazies would probably scare me shitless, that I’d be behind my knees for a minimum of ten minutes and that yes quite possibly I would be jumping out of my seat. Surprisingly, although the film lived up to those expectations, the plotline kind of made up for the scariness. The actors could, well, act, which is always a bonus. And the plot wasn’t just blood, murder, zombies, murder, blood, guts and screams. I was quite happily able to sit there, actually watching the film.

Radha: not a positive female role model & not Timothy Olyphant. Epic fail.

The Crazies does sometimes portray the female as a pathetic and weak species; there are numerous scenes that show Radha Mitchell’s character needing rescuing, up to the point where I was literally telling her out loud to not walk where she was. I think the film could have excelled itself if it added that extra dimension. ROLL OVER FOR SPOILERS: Perhaps if it was the young Becca, instead of Russell, who heroically walked to her death in front of the military rather than unceremoniously getting hung in a car wash, then perhaps I would have walked away more empowered - rather than wishing I was Timothy Olyphant, who quite obviously is impenetrable to any pain. END SPOILERS.

This action/horror/zombie genre film was not as bad, or as gruesome as one may expect – even for those who dislike this type of picture in general. There are more than a few jumpy scenes for the adrenaline to start pumping, and definitely a sufficient amount of zombie action. Go and see it.

Lesson learned: Men and Ladies alike want to be Timothy Olyphant. Nobody wants to be Radha Mitchell. The Crazies is something that even non-genre fans will enjoy, whilst it's a remake that even your grumpy ol' horrorhead can watch without getting too pissed off.

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