The Crazies (2010)
the crazies | breck eisner | scott kosar | ray wright | radha mitchell | timothy olyphant | danielle panabaker | infection | remake | zombie | zombies | thriller | united states | united arab emirates | joe anderson | christie lynn smith | brett rickaby | military
Film: The Crazies
Director: Breck Eisner
Writer: Scott Kosar and Ray Wright
Starring: Radha Mitchell, Timothy Olyphant and Danielle Panabaker
This film was one that when I heard about it coming out and I was pretty excited to see. I’m a big fan of George A. Romero and I liked his original film, so I was intrigued to see what a fresh take could be of it. I’ve seen this a few times now, with the first one being in the theater and the next one was when I got it on DVD. The synopsis is after a strange and insecure plane crash, an unusual toxic virus enters a quaint farming town. A young couple is quarantined, but they fight for survival with help the help of others around them.
We start this off with a cold open where we see a house burning and then it shows us the town of Ogden Falls, Iowa completely destroyed. It then shifts us to two days into the past. Becca (Danielle Panabaker) tells her boss, the local doctor Judy (Radha Mitchell), that her aunt is in town and she needs it off. Judy knows it is so she can go to the baseball game where her boyfriend is playing and she lets her go.
At the game is Judy’s husband, David (Timothy Olyphant), the local sheriff. We see him interact with the principal Ben Sandborn (Larry Cedar) as well as his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson). Things take a dark turn though when Rory Hamill (Mike Hickman) shows up with a shotgun and a bloody nose. The two police officers try to get him to drop his weapon. When he levels it at David, he shoots him in self-defense. David is convinced that Rory was drunk and has the medical examiner runs a toxicology report. David also tries to apologize to the family, but the wound is too fresh.
The next day he learns that Rory didn’t have any alcohol in his system. Going into Judy’s practice is Bill Farnum (Brett Rickaby) along with his wife Deardra (Christie Lynn Smith) and their son Nicholas (Preston Bailey). She can’t find anything physically wrong with Bill, but he repeats the same phrase to her and Deardra just knows something is wrong. That night he attacks his family and the house fire we saw earlier was from him. This bothers David and Judy.
Things take a turn when a crashed airplane is found in their water supply. David notices that it leads to Rory’s and Bill’s property first. He tries to get the mayor, Hobbs (John Aylward) to turn it off, but he refuses with it being planting season. They’re then cut off when the military initiates a containment protocol. They’re not told as to why and they’re separated from each other. David has to find a way back to his wife, who is pregnant, before it is too late.
Now I don’t hate remakes and to be honest, when they’re done right, I actually am all for them. This is the case of here. This movie takes a lot of the ideas from the original, but really does make its own film. There are character names that are same from the two leads plus instead of Judy being a nurse, we have her here as a doctor. Also in the same vein, I believe David in the original was a volunteer firefighter and they’ve made him sheriff for this version. We also get the military wearing similar type outfits to what they did in the original as well.
In my review of the original, I said that I liked that one hid who was infected where this one didn’t. I do need to correct myself though as that is misleading. Yes, as the infection goes on they do get veins that are blackened and you can tell. Early on though, they really just start to act differently. This one does have it more where it makes people be more aggressive as they lose some of that inhibition to stop themselves. I really did like that aspect and would go as far to say that this one does better in setting the perimeters of the infection. It makes for an interesting dynamic where we have crazy people hunting others in the town. They do seem to keep some of their personality as well from what I gathered.
There’s also some social relevancy to what we’re seeing here too. The mayor is similar to that of the one in Jaws where this is a farming community. He doesn’t want to shut the water off as it is planting season. We also have the interesting idea that government is stepping in and oppressing their citizens. The scary thing is that it feels like what was done to the Japanese in World War II in the United States, Nazi Germany with the Jews or even the separating families at the border currently. The more I think of that, David and Judy get split up here. That hits much closer to that example with this coming over a decade before with that last example.
Moving over the pacing of the movie, I do feel that it is a bit off. It’s interesting though as it doesn’t waste any time getting into what is happening here. The cold open sets the town for what is going to happen and we get the first encounter 15 minutes in. I almost feel like that it is a bit chaotic though. It does hold my attention so I don’t want to seem like I hated this aspect. Seeing how quickly society can break down from fear and panic also does help here as well.
The acting is something that I also thought was good. Olyphant is someone I forget about until I see him in a movie. He’s really good here as the small town sheriff. He’s willing to do what he has to protect his people even if it means his job. The determination he has to protect his wife is good as well. Mitchell is also solid here. I like that she’s a doctor for this movie as since we don’t get those scenes with the scientist, she’s able to piece things together as we learn with her background. Anderson actually kind of steals the show if I’m honest. There’s a bit of distrust among the survivors as to who they think is infected or not. David and Judy protect each other of course, but Russell is acting strange. He doesn’t realize it though and he’s distrustful of those around him. He is worried early that he could be, but we never actually know. The performance of Panabaker was also fine. The rest of the cast rounded this out for what we needed with infected people as well as soldiers.
I’ll shift this to the effects which again were really solid. If there was CGI in this movie, I really couldn’t tell which is strong for me. I think they did go practical with most everything that we see which is good. I thought the blood we got was solid and looked real. Seeing those that are infected as it takes hold change was good. I’m really glad that with this viewing I realized that it is hidden better during the early stages. It is also shot fine in my opinion. If I do have any problems here, some of the attack scenes are a bit cheesy and more staged with this being more of a blockbuster take than the original. Not a problem per say, but something I noticed.
Now with that said, this is a film that I find to be interesting where we have people turning against each other. It is interesting being from a small town and seeing that play out here. Being that the government is there to cover it up, makes it scary and me wonder if something like this could really happen. The acting helps to bring this to life as well as the effects. I will say that the pacing is a bit chaotic though. The soundtrack really didn’t stand out to me or hurt it. I think this does work a bit better here than the original as it isn’t as in your face. This still has some of that social commentary while being an entertaining remake. I like that it also reigns in the effects of the virus and makes it a bit more brutal. Overall I’d say this is a good movie and would recommend giving this a viewing. I also put this slightly over the original as well.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10