Sunday, February 28, 2010
MOVIE REVIEWS: THE CRAZIES
Sahara director Breck Eisner teams with screenwriters Ray Wright (Pulse) and Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to give George A. Romero's underrated 1973 shocker a shiny new makeover in this update starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell. Perform a Google search on "small-town America," and eventually you'll stumble across Ogden Marsh, a picturesque hamlet situated a safe distance from the nearest big city, and full of friendly faces. The citizens of Ogden Marsh are happy, albeit unremarkable people, but they're about to discover just how fragile their warm slice of the American Dream really is. When a mysterious toxin transforms the locals into murderous maniacs, it's up to Sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) to find out why a man who was once an upstanding citizen would attempt to massacre the local youth baseball team, and a caring father would burn his beloved family alive. Within hours the town has descended into total chaos, and the government has ordered it quarantined. Anyone who attempts to escape will be shot on sight, whether they're infected or not. Realizing that their only hope for survival is to fight through the madness that has consumed their once-quiet town, Sheriff Dutton, his pregnant wife, Judy (Mitchell), his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), and frightened medical center assistant Becca (Danielle Panabaker) wage an epic struggle to discover the source of this malevolent scourge while fending off their infected friends and neighbors. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson, Christie Lynn Smith.
Release Date: February 26, 2010..
Rated R for disturbing violent content, violence and gore
Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min.
Genres: Horror, Thriller
The Crazies is a surprisingly effective, if predictably derivative, remake of George A Romero’s 1973 original. Breck Eisner creates an effective atmosphere and delivers a visually engaging picture. After a shaky start that feels closer to Resident Evil and The Happening, Eisner finds his footing putting any concerns at ease. Eisner keeps the film moving at a quick pace and doesn’t linger on much peripheral information creating an experience that’s never boring and only occasionally borders on tedium. He has a nice knack for creating set pieces that are interesting and innovative, a scene at a car wash and one at the high school make the biggest impact. The cast is effective but they suffer from weak script. Timothy Olyphant is strong as the lead, even if he’s a bit young for the role and being stuck in the tightest sheriff uniform in history, and plays against the type well. Radha Mitchell works well with Olyphant even if the pair seems a bit mismatched but you can’t help but feel she could have done so much more if the character were defined. Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker are even more one note but they aren’t asked to do much aside from look act increasingly unstable and the latter acting terrified. Scott Kosar & Ray Wright penned the script, Kosar having scripted various other remakes, and they keep it simple which has its positive and negatives. The characters aren’t terribly defined and logic takes various sabbaticals during the film’s run time mixed with an over reliance on gotcha scares probably keep this from something special. Also, I’m uncertain about the effectiveness of making “the crazies” zombie like in appearance when they aren’t zombie in the standard sense. These deficiencies aren’t fatal mainly because Eisner keeps the film running at a steady pace and making it less of a problem. Genre fans, me included, will find plenty to enjoy here and The Crazies is much better than the bevy of remakes currently being churned out.