If there was one remake of a Horror film I was excited for it was "The Crazies". Now George A Romero's original had a great concept and was definitely underrated, but as time passed it began to show its date and lose some of its impact. Thusly, a remake with a modern take on government and science could make a beast of a film. That's why "The Crazies" should have been a monster remake. Although it does a lot of great things, I still wanted it to have an impact that makes you cringe every time you hear a helicopter or a bull horn and I never really got that, but its still an effective Horror flick that does what it can.
Local sheriff of Ogden Marsh, Iowa is going to have his hands full. Despite all of the small town drama he normally has to put up with and his newly pregnant wife, the town doctor, he also has a rash of random acts of violence to figure out and control. First, its the town drunk with a loaded gun. Then a family man burns down his house. Its starting to look like something bigger is happening and when a sudden quarantine of the town by the government happens, its up to him and a few survivors to battle their way to freedom through trigger happy soldiers and a few 'crazies' left in the town lost to their own mental deterioration.
"The Crazies" does a lot of things right. Its got a great atmosphere, where no matter what our heroes do, it feels as though the hopelessness of the situation is a weight on their shoulders. With its sleek production and its subtle acting from all of our leads (I have to give particular nod to Joe Anderson as Deputy Russell as we watch him spiral down into the infection) "The Crazies" makes a riveting watch from its initial confrontation on the baseball diamond to its explosive ending. It has tons of jump scares to add to its conceptional Horror and some great shock moments, like the suspense of waiting for the the character Ben to start pitchforking the helpless souls, and those balance with the ideological terror of being stuck in one of those situations. This is what makes "The Crazies" a great watch.
One of the things that I wanted to get from this film, but didn't, was an impact that would change my view on life. This film had significant potential to do so with plenty of great story elements and ideas as the audience follows the confusion and panic of the people of Ogden Marsh. The problem is that some of the logistical leaps in the tale. The government seemingly appears out of nowhere with their quarantine in mass and then disappears in mass within like a half hour without a whole lot of build to them dropping the hammer or where they go when they leave. I wanted some more suspense for the arrival of the government and even the ending, like hearing a few sparse radio bits or seeing clues to what was going to happen to get me even more into it. Sometimes I just felt it was a bit too sparse.
"The Crazies" does a lot of things right and its a fun and sick watch for what it is. I wanted it to be a little more than that and push so boundaries and really sock it to the audience, but I had to settle just for a great Horror film instead of one that changes the genre like the original did for its time. Great scares, great cast, and great atmosphere make "The Crazies" a must watch though.
BONUS RANT: Was it just me or did the character Becca sort of randomly die. I mean, it was obvious she was fodder for the slaughter at some point, and it was a good place for her to die in the story, but her death seems rather sudden and somewhat random. I almost wanted a bit more lead in to her demise instead of being left hanging there. Ha.
Written By Matt Reifschneider