Monday, March 15, 2010

The Crazies

TITLE: The Crazies
SCORE: 2.5 out of 4

This rendition of The Crazies is almost nothing like the original George Romero film. The original film was loaded not just with gore and creepiness, but also a building sense of tension and suspense throughout its entirety that really kept you engaged with the film through its use of documentary-style filming and editing. This one lacks any such substance and relies on pure shock tactics.

What you get with this Crazies is a pale imitation of an already over-the-top film that kicks it up into outrageous nonsense. A boring, dull sheriff and his highly pregnant wife gruelingly survive an outbreak of T.R.I.X.I.E (that's one more than D.I.X.I.E) in what amounts to basically the Die Hard of zombie movies. Of course, in The Crazies they aren't technically zombies, just homicidal maniacs infected with an incurable infectious disease that causes permanent insanity and brain damage.

The amount of paranoia induced by Romero's original mind-fuck masterpiece is something I doubted this remake would be able to match, but it disappointed even my very low standards. Standard boilerplate horror turn-arounds and misdirections are the stock and trade of the "suspense" of this film which is regularly ruined by ridiculous things happening to and being done by our protagonists. 

Everything in this film is cartoonish -- the bungling government is amped up into fascist stormtroopers who indiscriminately kill any and all civilians. In the original there are plenty of sane people being shot, but it is through confusion and the disintegration of support and communication lines. In this one, the military is just a bunch of coldblooded bastards committing wholesale slaughter starting Day 1 of the outbreak.

The idea of exploring the whole "how you know what sanity is, can you know that you are sane?" angle seemed to have been lost on the writers here, there are certainly no cerebral or philosophical themes present in this film; everything is played completely straight with seemingly no irony, subtlety or subtext.

In short: This is a pathetic failure. What's more unfortunate, is that this is probably the strongest effort the people involved in the making of this film are able to make -- this trashy pablum is the pinnacle of Breck Eisner's career, and I'll bet good money that the fact this film is even watchable is in spite of him and probably due to conscious efforts to block his shitty ideas.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Quick Bites

A quick snipe at some recent films I've seen but don't have the heart to review in full...

Legion (2010): This is a movie that is fun to watch but impossible to take seriously. Not very scary either, and the whole concept of the movie is really half-baked. Still, it is thoroughly entertaining. 3 out of 4.

The Dead Outside (2008): This was a very compelling film about a small set of characters attempting to survive after a decimating viral outbreak which causes its victims to become violently insane. I liked it quite a bit but the editing and pacing just seemed to be a little bungled, and it took away from the mood of the film for me just a bit. 3.5 out of 4.

I will be reviewing the 2010 remake of The Crazies very soon!