The Crazies (2010)

Directed by: Breck Eisner

Premise: A remake of the 1973 film. The citizens of a small Midwestern town suddenly begin acting like homicidal maniacs. As the disease spreads, the sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife attempt to escape the town.

What Works: The Crazies attempts to go the highbrow route with this horror story by casting actors like Timothy Olyphant as the sheriff and Joe Anderson as his deputy. The actors give a sense of reality to the film and the rapport between Olyphant and Anderson’s characters does a lot to enhance the film.

What Doesn’t: It seems like the filmmaker’s attempts to make a “respectable” horror film backfire on them, as The Crazies resists giving itself over to the insanity of the premise or the ensuing events. The picture holds back too much and ultimately never gets going. The mystery surrounding the townspeople’s homicidal behavior is given away very early and very easily, which eliminates the audience’s curiosity, and as the film shifts into an escape narrative, the film does not provide a destination or a goal for the characters to reach. The scares and the action scenes do not come often enough and they are edited together very poorly, making it hard to tell what we are looking at. When the climax finally arrives it comes out of nowhere and wastes a potential “ticking clock” plot device that would have been so much more effective if it had been introduced earlier in the story.

Bottom Line: The Crazies is, ironically, not crazy enough. The film lacks the chaotic energy of movies like Shivers, Night of the Living Dead, or 28 Days Later and is another disappointing horror remake.

Episode: #279 (March 7, 2010)