Breck Eisner’s “The Crazies” is heads and shoulders above George A. Romero’s 1973 movie of the same name. Eisner’s re-imagining of the story is better in literally every facet. Romero’s movie is, at best, low B-movie quality. It’s chalk-full of poor acting, and crappy writing. It’s shot badly, and damn near everything about it is bad. Eisner’s attempt has none of these problems. The acting is solid. The story is legitimately interesting, and even scary. And Eisner did a wonderful job behind the lens. I believe this will be one of the few horror remakes that stands out because it took the few things from the original that worked, revamped them, and built the rest from scratch.
The film opens wonderfully. It’s night, and virtually the entire main street through the town is ablaze. For as simple as this is, it’s an intense scene. We get a good view of the wreckage in front of us, and then we cut to a title card: “Two Days Earlier”. It’s one of the few times I’ve sworn out loud in shock. “Oh shit”, I believe were my exact words. It reminded me of the first act of “Independence Day” when we are witness to untold destruction. My mouth agape, I’m then reminded it all happened in one day when the title card: “July 4th” appears.
The rest of “The Crazies” is just as intense as the opening. Events unfold at a wonderfully fast pace. Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) shoots a crazy man in the chest, and it’s all down hill from there for the poor town. The reason behind the townsfolk going nutso is discovered soon after, but by then it’s too late. There’s not a second of wasted time in this movie: one terrible event ends, the next begins. No down time. Rather exhausting actually, but in a good way.
I was pleased to see there wasn’t an over abundance of mystery to how the townsfolk got infected with whatever made them go nuts. For once, the characters didn’t stand around talking. They knew shit was going wrong, and they figured out the cause rapidly. A very human reaction. I appreciated this fact. I don’t mind mystery in the slightest, but sometimes the mystery element can be overdone unnecessarily. As for the cause of the infection, the explanation behind what happened (which comes toward the end) is downright splendid. The whole movie I thought the final explanation would be a complete cop-out, but damn it the simplicity of it all worked incredibly well.
On a final writing note, I loved how ruthless the military was written. It seemed so real. I could see a real government reacting in the exact way they do in the movie. Only once do we see the military have a small shred of humanity. Other than that, they’re faceless monsters. In a way, they’re more dangerous than the crazies. I thought making the military unforgiving, unwavering killing machines was really well done.
Timothy Olyphant, and Radha Mitchell are wonderful. Olyphant gets better and better with each film, and is proving he has wonderful range. While I genuinely disliked the last movie he was in “The Perfect Getaway” he did a fine job. Joe Anderson, who plays Dutton’s deputy did great as well. If I didn’t know he was English I’d believe he was American. Really convincing accent, but maybe I’m easily impressed.
My only confusion/complaint about the movie I can think of at the moment revolves around Joe Anderson’s character. I can’t say a great deal with giving away a lot of key, or at least, cool plot stuff. Perhaps it will take another viewing before I am able to wrap my head around just what the hell was truly going on with him. The confusion left me a bit angry.
Aside from being able to say almost nothing about my complaints, I enjoyed this movie a lot. It was tons of fun and is good for a creepy scare.