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The Crazies (2010)

2010 film directed by Breck Eisner

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3 ½ Stars: NOT "Crazy" Good...But Pretty Decent Entertainment!

  • Feb 27, 2010
Rating:
+3

I have only seen bits and pieces of the original “The Crazies” and maybe it would be a wise idea to see it again before I write this review. Zombie maestro George Romero directed the original 1973 horror film “The Crazies” and for once maybe it would be a good idea in refraining from comparing the remake to the original. The acclaimed horror director helped redefine horror with his “Living Dead” films and it is not surprising that this new slicker 2010 version directed by Breck Eisner would be more concerned with some graphic imagery, suspense and chills than powerful social satire/commentary. There is nothing very ambitious or imaginative in “The Crazies”, it is a conventional, formulaic horror movie that tries to keep things on track while barely taking any risks. Fans of the recent horror franchise “28 Weeks Later” and Romero‘s own “Land of the Dead” would be on familiar ground here as we see humanity turn on to itself and society and morality slowly collapses in the face of blind panic and fear.
 
Ogden Marsh, Iowa is a sleepy town with a population of 1,600 is being promoted as “the friendliest place on earth” by its residents. During a baseball game, the supposed town drunk walks into the field with a shotgun forcing the town sheriff David (Timothy Olymphant, Hitman) to shoot him. Things go from bad to worst as some residents begin to display abnormal behavior and the bodies begin to mount up as some residents become homicidal. Before you know it, the U.S. government has placed the small town under quarantine leaving David and his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell, Surrogates) separated amid all the confusion. Now, David must make his way back to find his pregnant wife and get her out of Ogden; he must do this past several roadblocks, homicidal maniacs and government cover ups. Aided by his deputy (Joe Anderson), David is on a mission to survive the nightmare…

               Joe Anderson, Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell and Danielle Panabaker in "The Crazies."

                            Brett Rickaby, Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell in "The Crazies."
 
There is nothing supernatural or magical in the cause of the chaos in “The Crazies”. the origins of the virus are pretty much made as a biochemical weapon that was accidentally unleashed into Ogden’s water supply. The symptoms of the disease is more theoretical and lacks sufficient definition but I would have to say that it does at least have an ‘incubation period”, is evolving but rather have its details spoon-fed to us, much is left to the imagination. The military response is pretty decisive and swift; they slaughter the locals and brings up several morality questions such as how far should a cover up be taken? Who are the real “crazies” here…the government or the infected? The film does somewhat touch upon some commentary (not too much) but doesn’t exactly make it as focused as some of Romero’s films. The film seems to be suggesting that humanity is headed to usher in its own destruction as we seem to have more interests in creating something that kills rather than something that “heals” or helps people. This is all typical commentary and isn’t exactly anything inventive but it is there, to try and draw in the audience.

              Radha Mitchell in "The Crazies."

                                  A scene from "The Crazies."
 
Much of the film is focused on the persons of David, his wife and his deputy as they try to look out for each other and escape together. The film sticks to its simple premise like glue, and barely even diverts from it. Director Breck Eisner keeps things uncomplicated as we see the trio stumble across the remnants of the battered town, they meet some murderous locals, some government military and even some infected “old” acquaintances and even enemies as they try to flee Ogden. They learn to trust, doubt and even wonder what to do next. The film is essentially a chase film with a race against time between the protagonists and zero hour.
 
The film does have some good kill scenes although some were a little routine. Eisner also manages to insert some black humor in the film’s first half to set the movie’s tone and to give us footing in the screenplay. The film does get bloody and while some of the suspense telegraphs its scares, I thought the film had achieved some good coherency in its script. Much of the film’s suspense has to be credited to Olymphant who just manages to inject the needed intensity and mood in their struggle. The film also has several scenes of excitement that I thought saved the movie from mediocrity. We see the town sheriff compelled to protect the one he loves as he had failed to protect its residents. There was one chilling moment as we become a witness to a government laid incinerator mass-grave that was just unnerving. It is an avenue that effectively represents the helplessness of their situation. The government which should protect, just becomes a cause for this insanity.

Radha Mitchell in "The Crazies."

                                    A scene from "The Crazies."
 
Yes, “The Crazies” may indeed be a formula film but it did manage to serve up some surprises, that even though the execution may be a bit flawed, I liked the film’s structure in developing its otherwise simple formula and unoriginal premise. Now the question remains: Is this a successful remake and is even necessary to remake “The Crazies”? Well, it all depends on how you look at it, but the original while it was good, was admittedly flawed. This remake does channel the fears of conspiracies and the despair of helplessness in the face of madness. Romero’s idea of fear and panic in the face of lunacy and paranoia still runs wild in this remake.
 
Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]
Note: Please sit through the end credits as there is an added scene. 

HYPE LEVEL: Very Moderate Even For a Remake of a George Romero Movie.
 
This Review is a Lunch.com Exclusive

 
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April 29, 2010
Great review once again WP but sadly I missed out on this one in theaters, I of course like the first one from Romero so i wanted to see this. Great review.
 
March 02, 2010
As they say, KISS... keep it ismple, ! ;-) Crazies? Craze for food, ahem!
March 10, 2010
I've been driven insane for quite awhile now LOL
 
March 01, 2010
Hmmm. 3.5 from you is a pretty good rating, but like you say this seems like just another formulaic zombie flick at a time when there are an awful lot of 'em. I'm holding onto my free movie cards with a death grip. I'm almost afraid to use them on something I'm not going to like. I wonder about GHOST WRITER since Polanski didn't get a chance to finish it himself, but I'll probably bite on that one for sure.
March 01, 2010
One thing about this movie is that it never bored me and I was entertained all the way which is a good sign. I would've easily rated this a very weak/ light  4 but it is a remake, pretty formulaic and I usually deduct points when something lacks originality. I was also thinking of seeing GHOST WRITER but you know how it is when another director finishes another project..like EYES WIDE SHUT. Speaking of that movie, have you seen its original 'OPEN YOUR EYES"?

Hey, Karen, interested in a Spanish time travel flick? (hint hint)
March 01, 2010
I haven't seen it yet but I have read a review on it--not your's yet. I think it was Scotty's. I have a bit of a headache and reading a lot off the screen bothers it right now.
March 01, 2010
oh. take care of that headache, Queenie. Maybe a nap will help.
March 01, 2010
Yeah I'm sure it would I haven't been to sleep yet.
 
February 28, 2010
Interesting.. 3.5 stars is actually better than I expected based on the previews. It looked gory and maybe a little tense but I can't say I expected any sort of masterpiece. Great review, noted and placed into the long term rental queue when it arrives. I still have to make my anime list and review Pandorum. So much to do, so little time :(
February 28, 2010
Yup. This wasn't bad, the original was a bit flawed so it's not like a remake can't really do anything more to its premise. Pandorum eh? I actually do feel like I need to see it again. I know I liked its atmosphere but its narrative just never hit a homerun. I hope you review it too. How's the weather there?
 
February 27, 2010
Cool review.
I loved the original (in fact I just watched it as part of a double feature with "Night of the Living Dead"), so I'm a little hesitant to see a remake. Plus, I hate the idea of the infected people looking zombie-ish. The entire thing that's so creepy about the original is that you don't know who is or isn't infected.
However, the majority of reviews seem to be positive, so I may change my mind. Which was better this or "Shutter Island"?
February 27, 2010
Yeh, that was one thing in the original that was way done better than in this remake; it generated more of a sense of paranoia. This was on very familiar ground but I liked the way it structured the story. This or SHUTTER ISLAND? Hm. tough call. Tho' I liked the premise and cast of Shutter Island better, but this was more shall I say "simple entertainment"?
February 27, 2010
Hmmm, I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for. Maybe I'll just wait on both. I'm so bloody poor that I can only afford one movie for a while.
February 27, 2010
I wanted to see GHOST WRITER but I have to save up money for ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Movies aren't cheap these days.
February 27, 2010
Yeah, no kidding. Most theatres around here charge between 8 and 12 dollars. Luckily, ours is independently owned so tickets are only 6 for adults and 4 for kids, seniors, and matinees, plus a dollar extra for 3-D films. Not too bad really. It's the concession stand where we really end up paying.
February 27, 2010
Speaking of ALICE in WONDERLAND, you going to see it?
February 27, 2010
I'm on the fence on that one. The 3-D looks great, but I'm not a big fan of Burton's adaptations of other source material. I love his original stuff, but "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", his take on Batman, and the remake of "Planet of the Apes" weren't my cup of tea.
February 27, 2010
I agree. I feel about the same but I may still see it just to see how it turns out.
February 27, 2010
Well, if you go, you'll probably want to go for the 3-D. That way if the movie sucks at least you will have seen some cool 3-D stuff. The Cheshire Cat looks pretty awesome.
February 27, 2010
hm. I'm not exactly fond of 3D especially if I'll be reviewing it. I'd like to keep a film's story its major selling point. I saw AVATAR first in non-3D when I reviewed it.
February 27, 2010
Really? I love it in 3-D. In fact, that's the film that made me realize how much 3-D had improved.
February 27, 2010
yeh. But I saw AVATAR again in 3D with my friends. It was an experience, I'm just the type who likes to breakdown stories if I have the intention of reviewing one.
February 27, 2010
Right. Hence the multiple viewings. I'm glad I saw it in 3-D the first time. Just more exciting and made it easier to get lost in it all. The second time the novelty wore off a bit and I was more critical.
February 27, 2010
I've always told folks that 3D is a gimmick meant to counteract a movie's flaws. Still, AVATAR was impressive for what it was. Oh, I just got the new live action Chinese movie MULAN last night. I'll watch/review it when the mood strikes me.
February 27, 2010
For the most part, I'd agree that it's a gimmick, but there have been some decent films shown in 3-D.
 
February 27, 2010
Okay...I am going to get in on the "undead" reviews. I am re-screening "omega man" for review.
February 27, 2010
LOL! THE LAST MAN ON EARTH has been on my "titles to review" list for 5 years now...
 
1
More The Crazies (2010) reviews
review by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
FUN ROMERO REMAKE
      THE CRAZIES      George Romero is by far a legend in the film industry and has crafted some of the best movies of all time, there is no doubting that. While he is still a very active filmmaker his past films have been being remade with more to come I am sure. One of those films is "The Crazies" a remake that he actually supported and came on board as an executive producer. I always have hope for a remake when the original creator is involved …
review by . January 21, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Somewhere in a remote stretch of Iowa, life as we have known it is about to end. A dramatic and surprising confrontation between a savvy small-town sheriff and what appears to be the reformed town drunk on a bad bender breaks up the high school baseball game. It also sheds the first light upon a sinister and lethal situation that has been brewing in the murky mire that lies beyond the attention of the public eye.     Sheriff David Dutten loves his hometown. He knows and respects …
review by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The Crazies - 2010
To my knowledge, I have never seen the original release of The Crazies, in 1973, from George Romero. While I understand Romero can be sort of a sick twist, I think this release is more in tune with the times, making it a possibility, as all tweaking with the environment and DNA and so forth are. This version was directed by Breck Eisner, was nominated for 3 awards and carries an R rating for blood and violence. Comparatively speaking, the blood and violence isn't all that.      …
review by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This relatively small-scale remake of George Romero's low-budget thriller manages to deliver a few thrills, here and there, but never manages to do much that is truly inventive or original, and certainly never manages to convince me that a remake of the ultra low-budget original was necessary. When the local drunk goes crazy with a gun at the local ballpark, and an ordinary man goes bonkers and burns his house down with the family locked inside, the local sheriff begins to suspect a pattern. When …
review by . June 09, 2010
Welcome to Ogden Marsh, the friendliest place on Earth.........
George A. Romero is credited all over as the king and father of zombie films for years he has given  moviegoers some of the most frightening and  definitive zombie films ever made  and it all began in 1968 with a little know black and white independent film called "Night of the living Dead"(1968). Which is cited as the films that jump started the zombie sub genre (and officially began   the zombie craze that has lasted far longer than it should have). Then in 1973 …
review by . August 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
During a baseball game in a small town in Iowa an apparently deranged local man approaches players with a loaded shotgun. The sheriff shots the man before he is able to harm anyone. This incident is attributed to the killed man's history of alcohol abuse, but the whole town is nonetheless perturbed and unsettled. After another resident starts acting erratically and murders his own family it starts becoming obvious that there is some larger malevolent influence that is affecting the town. The …
review by . July 13, 2010
With all of the remakes, reboots, and re-imaginings of classic (and some not-so-classic) horror films, I was a bit hesitant to watch Scott Kosar, Ray Wright, and Breck Eisner's version of George A. Romero's semi-classic "The Crazies." Kosar and Wright updated the screenplay, moved it to a new location (Ogden Marsh, Iowa) and generally maintained the essence of the original film. Director Eisner keeps the film interesting by mixing equal parts of suspense and action with brief quiet moments between …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This was okay this is something tat could happen in a little country community
review by . August 07, 2010
During a baseball game in a small town in Iowa an apparently deranged local man approaches players with a loaded shotgun. The sheriff shots the man before he is able to harm anyone. This incident is attributed to the killed man's history of alcohol abuse, but the whole town is nonetheless perturbed and unsettled. After another resident starts acting erratically and murders his own family it starts becoming obvious that there is some larger malevolent influence that is affecting the town. The sheriff …
review by . July 08, 2010
I found out from my dad that this was a remake of George A. Romero's The Crazies. Everyone I know who saw this movie liked it. It was definitely worth two hours of my time.
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About this movie

Wiki

Remake of the 1973 HORROR film directed by George A. Romero about a mysterious phenomenon that causes the citizens of a quiet Georgian town go mad. .

Filmed in the state of Georgia.

Executive Producer: George A. Romero.

  • Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson, Christie Lynn Smith
  • Director: Breck Eisner
  • Genres: Action Thriller, Escape Film, Horror
  • 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 ...

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    Details

    Director: Breck Eisner
    Genre: Horror
    Release Date: February 24, 2010
    MPAA Rating: R
    DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
    Runtime: 101 minutes
    Studio: Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment
    First to Review

    "The Town That Went Mad"
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