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Friday, February 26, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: "THE CRAZIES" (2010)

     George A. Romero's films have become some of the most remade titles in horror films in the last decade. After 2004's "Dawn of the Dead", "Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006) and "Day of the Dead" (2008) it seems his zombie films won't stay dead, (or undead)! Although I am usually reluctant to accept most horror remakes. George A. Romero's "The Crazies" (1973) although one of his lesser known films and not part of his Living Dead series, does stand out in his extensive filmography. Director Breck Eisner ("Sahara" (2005) brings a new, updated vision of "The Crazies". With the theme of paranoia from government secrets still relevant in our society "The Crazies" is an intense and terrifying ride that doesn't slow down. When the small Iowa town of Ogden Marsh succumbs to a mysterious biological agent, having contaminated their water supply, the town descends into chaos as ordinary citizens become murderous psycho-paths! As Sherriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) discovers the cause of the mysterious illness, they try to escape from both his maniacal neighbors and the ever increasing military bent on containing the contagion by any means necessary!
    While the original "The Crazies", a pre-"Dawn of the Dead" Romero film, explored both subplots of a group of survivors as well as the military trying to contain and ultimately cure the spreading disease. The new "Crazies" explores more on the town and the ordinary citizens who try to survive but also vilifies the military who resort to simply containing the disease by killing off the whole town with no hope of a cure changes the whole theme. These two films seem oddly conflicting whereas the original was set in the early 1970's as the hippie generation and Vietnam grew out of control the original seems to show the government more helpful then the remake whereas the time we live in, a post-September 11th society would seem we have grown even more distrusting and paranoid of the government than we realize. I think it poses a fascinating question as any good horror/sci-fi story will show and reflects our own society in the fears we have. The biggest difference in the two films also comes with the disease/contagion itself in the appearance of the "infected" are much worse than in the original where those that became infected only showed mental and behavioral aberrations, the new movie shows also physical evidence as well, in an almost zombie-like appearance with rotted flesh and bloodshot eyes, much like the effects of the "Rage virus" from movies like "28 Days Later" (2002) and "28 Weeks Later" (2007).
    "The Crazies" (2010) was a surprisingly impressive and frightening experience, although will undoubtedly go unnoticed with the majority of horror films this year. On a personal note, I was given the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the movie and was glad I got the chance to see it before its initial release! On another note, it is probably one of the scariest films I have seen in a long time and not to give away any spoilers, but I will definitely think twice before going into drive-thru car washes anytime soon!