Pleasantly not a Michael Bay produced Platinum Dunes release, and similarly not overseen by an excitable music video director, in recent memory, The Crazies is the first remake of a classic horror to actually get excited about.
When a mysterious toxin contaminates the local water supply, the inhabitants of small Iowa town Ogden Marsh are driven to insanity and the need to starve life from those around them without any fear of dying themselves. Not creating zombies but instead fully mobile, infected human beings, when the military are called in to contain the outbreak, even the healthy aren’t yet in the clear, and one man (olyphant) and his wife (Mitchell) have to fight for their lives to escape the town intact.
Remaking George A. Romero’s 1973 original, this 2010 update doesn’t have the social commentary of Romero’s film, but for 101 minutes of action-packed, edge of your seat stuff, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Crazies is more of a tense thriller than a full-on horror, but there are still some moments that will make you jump. Director Breck Eisner uses action effectively, and as the couple flee their hometown, the film has an effective sense of pace to the plot, never dragging or instilling boredom.
Timothy Olyphant, as the domineering husband and local sheriff, shows us again why we got excited about his emergence on the scene, and finally puts to bed any memories of the abysmal Hitman.
Great credit should also be thrown in the direction of cinematographer Maxime Alexandre, who even in broad daylight, gives the film a feeling a something is not quite right, and an unnerving atmosphere which perfectly fits the insanity ridden plot.
Though it won’t expect to win any prizes in the tail end of the awards season, The Crazies is a lot of fun and gives an effective translation of Romero’s 1973 classic. Perhaps the update could have been a little bit more edgy, and a little less Hollywood, but there were some nice touches and it was much better than the other recent horror updates like Friday the 13th and Halloween. Here’s hoping the new Nightmare On Elm Street reboot is just as good, though we’ve got the sternest of doubts already.