I don’t remember much about the original The Crazies by George A. Romero. I watched it a year or two back and just didn’t get that into it. All I remember about the low budget flick is that something happens and it turns a bunch of people into zombie like rage beasts and the government gets involved. Since I didn’t review it on the blog here, I can’t expand any further. Back when I heard about the remake, I was kinda sorta interested in a “I’ll watch it eventually” kind of way, but also not insulted in a “how could they remake this classic!” way.
Frankly, I think this new version is one of the better remakes around. I mentioned that on Twitter and a few friends brought up Carpenter’s Thing and Cape Fear, which I agree with and haven’t seen respectively. In this case, I think they took a story/movie that was fun and interesting and really expanded on it using more money and advanced special effects. The basic story is the same this time around revolving around a small town sheriff and his wife the doctor trying to stay alive as an accident has unleashed this plague that turns normal people into the aforementioned rage beasts. Unlike tradition zombies, these people don’t seem to want to consume human flesh, just murder the crap out of people using anything from guns to rope and even fire.
The rest of this paragraph will get into plot details pretty heavily, so let’s throw up the SPOILER warning. It turns out that what turns out to be a biotoxin is attacking these people because a plane crashed in a nearby swamp that feeds into the town’s water supply which quickly spreads it throughout the town. The crazies start coming out and soon enough the military has started rounding people up in an attempt to quarantine them. The sheriff and the doctor wind up escaping along with the deputy and from there it’s a survival movie of them trying to evade the military, the crazies and any other dangers they might encounter.
And, man, some of these scenes are freaking intense. I won’t give too much away here, but there’s one in a nearby farmhouse that takes place in a nursery that had me cringing from beginning to end. Such a great way to put the whole experience together. There’s also a bit in a morgue that, even though you were expecting it to be creepy, really delivered. Heck, the movie also has the scariest car wash that I’ve ever seen in film. There’s also the scene of the sheriff and deputy in a boat realizing they’re right on top of the downed plane. I have a very strange fear of encountering anything underwater that’s not supposed to be there, so this gave me the willies.
In addition to the scares, I thought the movie was really, really well paced. It started off dropping you right in the middle of the goings on of the small town thanks to a baseball and then smacks you in the face with the impending threat, though they think it’s just a guy being drunk. From there, the threat builds as does the realization that the military is around keeping tabs on the situation. And then it explodes into almost a whole different kind of movie, but in a great way.
There’s also a scope to the movie that you don’t see in a lot of horror films without losing sight of the lead characters. It reminded me a lot of Cloverfield in that way as the characters start off experiencing this all on their own, but then encounter the larger forces at work. A lot of the credit for that goes towards a good script, solid director and enough money to make the whole thing feel and look great.
If you haven’t seen The Crazies because you don’t think you need to see yet another horror movie remake, I recommend giving it a watch (it’s on Netflix Instant, so there’s not much of a barrier there). There’s a great story, good acting, great effects and some really frightening moments. Give it a look!