Monday, July 11, 2011

Horror Movie Review: The Crazies

The Crazies

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, and Joe Anderson

Directed by: Breck Eisner

Written by: Scott Kosar and Ray Wright based on George Romero's 1973 movie

Production Companies: Overture Films, Participant Media, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, and Penn Station

Release Date: February 23, 2010

Remaking a horror film, well, any film really, is tricky business. Generally speaking you want to honor the original, stay true to it to a certain degree, and at the same time separate your remake from it and still be enjoyed. Even if a director can accomplish this, there are some who will dismiss the remake entirely and disregard its existence. Others might be willing to go into it expecting to be disappointed, annoyed, frustrated, or even angered and ready to tell everyone how the remake is inferior. But Hollywood seems to have no problem with doing remakes so they must be able to get enough business from those curious but sceptical types and those who have never seen the original and may not even know it's a remake to make just about any movie older than 10 years worthy game for a remake.

I personally try to watch a remake as a beast unto itself, but I do tend to compare to the original as well. It depends on how familiar I am with the film or how recently I saw it as to how much I compare the two. I knew Breck Eisner's The Crazies would get a lot of comparison with George Romero's The Crazies.

It's the same story: A plane carrying a military created bioweapon crashes near a small town. The citizens of the town become infected, one of the symptoms is insanity, and the military comes it to control the situation. A small group tries to avoid both "the crazies", the military, and the disease and escape the town.

Breck Eisner's The Crazies does a better job of creating a tense, horrific tone to the film. The crazies, with make-up to give them a diseased look, are scarier than original version. They are slower and more methodical about their insanity. It creates an intensity missing in George Romero's original.

But the ending to the original is more satisfying than the remake. In fact, the trials of the runaway group is generally more gripping. We get a little glimpse of Russell getting the Crazies, while in the original, his counterpart, Clank, was clearly infected. Judy's infection in the original gives George Romero's version more tragedy. Also, in the new version we have Becca, whose only purpose seems to be cannon fodder for the crazies where in the original Artie and his daughter Kathy add tension to the groups dynamic and more cases of the infection for us to see the progression of the disease.

But the one thing I really missed in the remake was the look at the military side of the events. Removing the close look at the military's procedures removes a lot of social commentary that made the original interesting.

Breck Eisner's The Crazies is scarier than the original, though I was a little disappointed in the uncreative craziness of the infected, and is a worthy horror film in its own right. The perfect version of the movie is somewhere between the two mixing the horror of the remake with the careful use of roles and the commentary in the original. So until that happens, in maybe a sequal since the remake left room for one, we'll have to watch both...and that's fine with me.

Related Trailers

Dreamcatcher - Timothy Olyphant also stars in Dreamcatcher. Four boyhood pals perform a heroic act and are changed by the powers they gain in return. Years later, on a hunting trip in the Maine woods, they're overtaken by a vicious blizzard that harbors an ominous presence. Challenged to stop an alien force, the friends must first prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians by a military vigilante ... and then overcome a threat to the bond that unites the four of them.

Silent Hill - Radha Mitchell also stars in Silent Hill. Determined to save her terminally ill daughter (Jodelle Ferland) from death, Rose (Radha Mitchell) ignores the wishes of her husband and takes her to a faith healer. But her well-intentioned efforts somehow land them in an alternate reality. Now, Rose is in the deserted town of Silent Hill, where her daughter mysteriously disappears and she's left to search for her child in a world of darkness and shadow.

The Ruins - Joe Anderson also appeared in The Ruins. An idyllic Mexican vacation in Cancun takes a dangerous turn for four young Americans when a mysterious tourist persuades them to join an archaeological dig, and they subsequently find themselves lost within the cursed ruins of a forgotten city. Jonathan Tucker, Laura Ramsey, Jena Malone and Shawn Ashmore head the cast in director Carter Smith's bone-chilling thriller, adapted by Scott B. Smith from his novel.

The Amityville Horror - Scott Kosar also worked on the script for the remake of The Amityville Horror. Hapless home buyers George and Kathy Lutz (Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George) discover their dream home is possessed by evil spirits in this terrifying remake of the 1979 horror classic, based on Jay Anson's popular book -- and a reportedly real-life haunting. As it turns out, the Lutzes home has a bloody history (a former occupant killed his entire family there just a year earlier), so it doesn't take long for terror to come knocking.

Case 39 - Ray Wright also wrote the script for Case 39. To save 10-year-old Lillith Sullivan (Jodelle Ferland) from her abusive parents, idealistic social worker Emily Jenkins (Renée Zellweger) welcomes the girl into her own home -- only to discover that Lillith isn't quite the innocent victim that she claims to be. As Lillith's mysterious past comes to light, Emily finds herself in a world of danger. Christian Alvart's terrifying thriller also stars Ian McShane and Bradley Cooper.