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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 19:27   #1
amner
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Default The Crazies

Ever wondered what a horror movie would be like if the protagonists a) worked out what was happening early on, b) made sensible decisions at the right times, c) started off connected rather than having to go through all that sickly bonding shit via the trauma, and d) showed their vulnerabilities in natural and understandable ways? If so, you'll welcome The Crazies, a notional remake of George Romero's 1973 movie of the same name, and, surprisingly, a really rather good one.

I haven't seen the original and I don't want to; for a horror fan I have an unusual position regarding the Master of the Undead, and that position is 'meh'. I guess I've seen all the ones of his I should (the zombie sequence that made his name and which he now leans on rather too heavily, Martin, Monkey Shines, The Dark Half, Creepshow) and I think that's enough research right there, thanks. He's OK. You know, I suppose. I've never got the fanboy stuff, like at all.

So, I don't know if the new film sticks to the old one well or not. Reading the synopsis off IMDb just now it would appear to. "The military attempts to contain a manmade combat virus that causes death and permanent insanity in those infected, as it overtakes a small Pennsylvania town." Well, swap Pennsylvania for Iowa and you have the story pretty much in a nutshell.

The film starts with sinister intent, as a gunman shuffles across the outfield of a baseball game on the first day of the season. Sherriff Dave (Timothy Olyphant) confronts the man and is forced to drop him when the gun is raised. At around the same time, Dave's wife, Judy (lovely Radha Mitchell), the local Doctor, sees a patient exhibiting disturbing characteristics. When the same guy wastes his wife and child a few hours later, Dave and Judy put their shit together and work out a pretty feasible explanation - a shared psychosis, possibly water-borne - which later proves fairly on the money. We're a quarter of an hour in and clearly the Dave and Judy show is none too shabby.



The Crazies has a lot to fit in, and so there's not much dicking about, and no-one goes down dark basement stairs in their panties, or puts a gun down at an inopportune moment. Dave and Judy have a believable relationship, and despite a Desperate Dan jaw of epic proportions, Olyphant doesn't mind looking shit scared when, well, when any normal person would have good reason for looking shit scared. Fair play.

Ultimately, it tries to pack a wee bit too much in and the ending is a tad overblown (there's a pun there), but as an action movie, this works pretty darn well. It says good-bye to the horror at around the half way point, but then it would be difficult after making a lot of smart decisions to go back and undo what it's manged to put in place. Not a great film, by any means, but way way better than you'd expect, and the two leads are likable and worth rooting for.

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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 19:52   #2
bill
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Default Re: The Crazies

That's about what I've been hearing, and I must say I'm shocked, but now looking forward to the film.

Quote:
Originally posted by amner
I haven't seen the original and I don't want to; for a horror fan I have an unusual position regarding the Master of the Undead, and that position is 'meh'. I guess I've seen all the ones of his I should (the zombie sequence that made his name and which he now leans on rather too heavily, Martin, Monkey Shines, The Dark Half, Creepshow) and I think that's enough research right there, thanks. He's OK. You know, I suppose. I've never got the fanboy stuff, like at all.
I'm more or less with you. The only place where we part company is that the Romero films I like -- Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Martin -- I like a whole hell of a lot. I think Night is sort of a perfect idea, like Frankenstein and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and the brilliance of Dawn and Martin is in the details. He used to have a real eye for the little things, like the characters experiencing boredom in Dawn, and the church service held in an attic because the real church was damaged in a fire in Martin. But that all went by the wayside, and wasn't enough to carry his weaker early movies (I've seen the original Crazies, and you're not missing much).

Still, if you want to spend two-and-a-half hours with your jaw hanging open in disbelief, check out Knightriders, his Renn-Faire/biker gang/Arthurian epic, starring a young Ed Harris. You will not believe that shit.
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Old 3rd Mar 2010, 10:59   #3
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Default Re: The Crazies

Haha, you're not wrong:



Harris's "I'm not trying to be a hero" outburst in the middle is a real highlight.
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