Halloween Scene: The Crazies (2010)

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!

Go Go Gadget Rave

3:58:38 am

As you can tell, I’ve been on something of an off and on ’90s kick lately. Mostly I’m just finally getting around to checking out flicks I never got to see when I was younger. I remember seeing the ads for Go (both TV and comic book, remember those?) and was curious (mostly because my fellow Christ the King grade school attendee Katie Holmes was in the flick). Anyway, I realized it was on my Blockbuster queue, bumped it up to the top and here’s what I thought.

Go (1999)

Written by John August (Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2, Big Fish, Corpse Bride)

Directed by Doug Liman (Swingers, Bourne Identity, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Jumper)

Starring (deep breath) Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, Timothy Olyphant, William Fitchner (Prison Break), Taye Diggs, Breckin Meyer, James Duval (Donnie Darko) Jane Krakowski (30 Rock) and Desmond Askey as the British guy

First off, it MUST be said that Go owes something to the films of Quentin Tarantino. Now, I’m not saying it’s a rip off or anything like that, but you definitely get a similar feel, especially with how the dialog is delivered by some the actors (especially Polley). There’s also the whole thing where the movie is told in non-linear segments. Again, not a direct lift, but considering Tarantino borrows a lot of elements for his films, I doubt he’d be too upset.

Okay, so onto the story. We start off with this chick Ronna who may or may not be 17, but is also getting evicted from her place and needs some money so she works an extra shift for her British co-worker. She gets caught up with drug dealers and cops and ends up getting hit by a car and left outside a rave to die. But that’s not all we see of her as we then hop back in time and follow a few other folks’ adventures and eventually see how they all tie together.

In general I like these kinds of movies. The kinds in which a few dumb mistakes lead to all kinds of crazy shit happening. Ronna doesn’t have enough money to pay for the ecstasy (or X as the kids call it), so she leaves Katie Holmes there as collateral. But it turns out that the guys who wanted it (Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf) are actually cops so she flushes the pills and then puts stolen aspirin in the bottle and trades the fake pills for Katie Holmes. She then goes to a rave with her friends (one of whom took TWO of the real pills, which Olyphant strictly forbade) and sells off the rest of the aspirin and allergy pills she stole from the grocery store at a rave. Olyphant (who’s freakin’ terrifying and funny at the same time) shows up, hears everyone talking about how this girl is selling the best X, chases her down and then she gets hit by the care. Holy crap, right? Right.

And that’s just part one. I gotta say, that, even as convoluted as the story may be, it’s a fun one and I definitely appreciate writer John August’s ability to keep so many characters straight and intertwine their stories so well. There’s characters that show up in this segment that show up in the next and everything ties together nicely. From what I hear, Crash is like this too, but I haven’t seen it yet. Plus, it’s crazy to go from this to Charlie’s Angels to working with Tim Burton multiple times.

The next section features the British guy (who works with Ronna and is her usual drug dealer, which is why she jumped up in the food chain and went to Olyphant himself), Taye Diggs, Brecken Meyer and James Duval going to Vegas, shooting a strip club bouncer and implicating Olyphant in said shooting (the British dude swiped his credit card which they used at the club). They head back to LA, which is apparently where the story takes place.

Holy cats, it turns out that Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf weren’t cops themselves, but working off a drug charge by helping Fichtner catch drug dealers. I think they might even be TV stars, but I kind of missed that part (that’s what happens when I get to the part of the movie I’m blogging about, I miss things). Hey Jay Mohr even invokes the title, nice work Jay. Okay, giving a play-by-play from here on out might get a little crazy, so I’m actually going to watch the movie for a while, Be right back…

Okay, movie’s over and it turns out everyone’s okay for the most part. There’s some weird scenes with Mohr and Wolf in Fichtner’s house, he’s married to Jane Krakowski and both he and his wife hit on the dudes (who turn out to be a couple). Anyway, they find out that they were cheating on each other with the same guy who’s at the rave. They’re the ones that hit Ronna with the car, leave and then head back to see if she’s dead and she’s not so everything ends up being okay. Even the British dude gets amicably shot in the arm by the bouncer whom he shot in Vegas.

So, I know I said I wasn’t going to summarize the movies so much, but Go seemed to fit the old style. Otherwise you’d have even less idea of what I’m talking about than I do and that doesn’t make for a very good blog post.

As you can see by this long summation, there’s a LOT going on with this movie and I love that. They don’t slow things down, you’ve just got to keep up or lose, which I like. I assume that’s what this blog can be like at times, especially after I’ve had a few and am on my third day trying to watch something. I also like the moral ambiguity of the ending. All these people who do relatively bad things end up fine and dandy (though I’m not sure if it’s physically possible to get hit by a car and left in a ditch for part of the night and still go into work the next day, but whatever).

In the end I recommend this movie to anyone who likes Tarantino flicks, X, Katie Holmes, crazy intertwining stories and raves. Side note, I’ve never done X, but if it makes you wear day glow pantaloons and dance around with glowsticks like a d-bag, I’m OUT. Just say no to lame, kids.