The Crazies is a 2010 American horror film and remake of the 1973 film of the same name. It was directed by the relatively unknown Breck Eisner, who’s only film of note is 2005 mis-hit Sahara. The Crazies stars Timothy Olyphant (and his ridiculously small and distracting waist), Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker. The story revolves around a town whose water supply has been poisoned by an unknown toxin that is causing the locals to be driven to insanity.
The Crazies feels like a patchwork of several different materials that have been thrust together in the hope of creating a passable quilt. As with all remakes the hope of cashing in on previous success or ideas, often serves to limit the potential of the latter film. There seems to be a Romero remake on every corner, and its becoming increasingly hard to compare them with the originals through the mist of nostalgia and screens of SFX.
The multiple of conflicting ideas eventually mesh but there is a lengthy grinding period where one becomes confused as to the genre of film; Zombie, Apocalypse, Epidemic or Suspicion Thriller? There are moments when the lead characters are trying to avoid Zombies, the Army and murdering Rednecks all at the same time and the plausibility is questioned.
While it stays true to the original, there are a few interesting plot points left unexplored. From the ability to extend ideas of suspicion to rival the suspense in ‘The Thing’ to the chance to explore epidemic ideas when they speak to a US Marine, The Crazies does seem wasteful of the opportunities to take the remake in another direction.
This being said, there is something here for most movie go-ers. The zombie scenes look authentic and the frights will have people genuinely jumping in their seats. The performance from Olyphant as David Dutton is truly excellent and he is often overlooked as one of the talents in Hollywood. However, as touched upon, his waist is so narrow and shoulders so broad one can’t help but be distracted and physiologically amazed.
All in all this is lean and obvious, but it does these things well. One can only wonder what could have been with a larger budget and more work on plot themes and developments.