The Crazies is a remake of George Romero’s 1973 cult classic about a small town infected by a mysterious virus that turns people into crazed killers with splotchy faces. It’s that rare case of the remake being better than the original.
Director Breck Eisner, working from a script by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright, delivers a brisk, tense horror film that enhances Romero’s work with state-of-the-art makeup, evocative cinematography of the barren Iowa landscape and crisp lead performances by Timothy Olyphant as the local sheriff and Radha Mitchell as his pregnant wife/town doctor.
Film fans have been bombarded with horror remakes in recent years.
Some have been good, such as The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And some not so good, including The Last House On The Left.
But I’m happy to report the latest offering, The Crazies, is far and away the best of the bunch.
I first saw the original 1973 movie, made by horror king George A. Romero, as a teenager when it was shown on BBC TV late one night.
I remember being scared stiff by the tale of a town gone crazy due to a deadly virus.
Now you can experience the same chilling thrills as the inhabitants of Ogden Marsh descend into madness. Once the Iowa town was full of happy, law-abiding citizens. But one night, one of them arrives at a school baseball game with a loaded shotgun, ready to kill…read more [People.co.uk]
The Crazies has many of the earmarks of a standard zombie movie, but lacks the ambition inherent to the genre. Gone are the constant sieges and oh-so-meaningful images of brainless mobs in favor of lonely landscapes and meaningful silences punctuated by shocking set pieces, ranging from cool to funny to genuinely nightmarish. If the film ultimately feels too episodic, the talented cast – particularly Joe Anderson in a breakout role as Olyphant’s loyal deputy – is genuinely worth rooting for, and keeps the film involving throughout the slow patches. The Crazies is not a zombie movie, and judging it as such would be unfair. It is, however, a virus movie, and as with any virus movie the fear of infection and paranoia about the well-being of everyone around you runs rampant, but in The Crazies even the slightest bit of irrational behavior could earn you a bullet in the brain… “just in case.”…read more [CraveOnline]
As epidemic scenarios go, “The Crazies” has solid underpinnings for going in any direction: bloody social commentary or nasty good time. But if Romero’s chaos-fueled original, pockmarked with troops-versus-civilian shootouts and bureaucratic bickering, was intended to mirror a fractured society’s uneasy pulse (think: Vietnam), Eisner’s loud, squishy and jokey redo simply reflects other movies, including westerns, disaster flicks and zombie creep-outs. (Eisner and writers Scott Kosar and Ray Wright play up the infected-as-undead element a lot more than Romero ever did, oddly enough.)…read more [Los Angeles Times]
A zombie movie without any proper zombies, George Romero’s 1973 film The Crazies uses victims driven insane by governmental chemical-warfare experiments in place of reanimated corpses, but otherwise looks like the missing link between Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead. It’s not as strong as either of those classics, but the way Romero pits insane everymen against a merciless military force while using images inspired by then-recent nightmares such as the Kent State shootings makes it a fascinating collection of early-’70s anxieties. Breck Eisner’s remake briefly threatens to do the same for 2010. In a chilling echo of the public acts of violence that have become the stuff of everyday news, it opens with a shotgun-toting madman walking onto the outfield of a baseball game and turning a bucolic small-town scene into a place of blood and horror…read more [A.V.Club]
“The Crazies” is a perfectly competent genre film in a genre that has exhausted its interest for me, the Zombie Film. It provides such a convenient storytelling device: Large numbers of mindless zombies lurch toward the camera as the hero wreaks savage destruction; they can be quickly blown away, although not without risk and occasional loss of life. When sufficient zombies have been run through, it’s time for a new dawn.
I know there can be good Zombie Films. I’ve seen some: “Dawn of the Dead,” “28 Days Later,” “Shaun of the Dead” and so on. If I saw another one like those, I’d like it. But all depends on good living characters, and a director with something new to say about zombies, who are a subject easily exhausted…read more [Roger Ebert]
Radha Mitchell, The Crazies
The Crazies isn’t a particularly bad movie. Olyphant is his usual hoarse, monosyllabic self and it works for him. Just like it did in A Perfect Getaway, Deadwood, and Live Free or Die Hard. The problem with The Crazies though, is that it’s repetitive. Like any zombie movie (though The Crazies isn’t technically a zombie movie), our small group of characters travels from place to place, avoiding the bad guys and moving towards someplace that is (supposedly) safe. But every time David and Judy stop somewhere, the scene ends up the same. The characters split up, someone gets attacked, they’re about to be killed when some other character saves them at the last second. Wait five minutes then repeat. There have to be a half dozen “crazies” throughout the movie whose final thoughts go something like this, “And now I’ll stab you with this knife/pitchfork/tire iron. But wait, what are these bullets doing in my chest?”…read more [MoviesOnline.ca]
There isn’t a second of The Crazies you haven’t already seen somewhere else, and the movie sets up a clear delineation point regarding who will enjoy it; you can either tolerate a high-strung jump scare or you can’t. This movie is so chock-full of them that a drinking game could easily be created. But the movie looks great, and the corn fields, the bright, baby-blue skies, and white-washed all American townsfolk are all turned in on themselves to evoke dread, mistrust, and dark currents of governmental intrusion. The Crazies aren’t exactly zombies, but they perform almost all the same functions. Gas masks, high-powered sniper rifles, and trucks loaded down with human cargo evoke a concentration camp kind of imagery. This milieu is filmed in a gritty, frightening way and there’s something startling about the manner in which Eisner goes about ripping the town apart…read more [Atomic Popcorn]
How Bloody Is It? Suffice to say, you can find me cowering in my seat at most horror flicks. Even so, The Crazies is restrained enough for the squeamish and yet gory enough for horror fans, thanks to director Breck Eisner’s measured sense for how much blood and guts are truly necessary to freak out his audience. To his credit, Eisner (whose best-known previous credit was the Dirk Pitt adventure bomb Sahara) manages to make the scary scenes suspenseful without resorting to jump scares and loud noises, as most modern horror films do. And when he does unleash the gore, it’s terrifying and squishy, but never gratuitous or overdone. That said, he packs his film with dead bodies, gunshot wounds, blades of all shapes and sizes, one pitchfork-wielding high school principal, ominous wheat threshers, psycho hillbillies, a knife-through-the-hand, and the scariest car wash known to man…read more [Movies.com]
The location is a tiny town in Iowa that has weaponized toxins in their water supply turning them all into ugly killbots. Lucky for you, The Crazies will bore you with only a hint of exposition. The screenplay for The Crazies lacks subtlety and wit, but it has the good sense to know when to shut up. The best lines from the movie are “ahhhh!” and “noooooo!” and “sh*****t!” This is not a knock. The Crazies is at its peak when it is working as pure, visual storytelling…read more [UGO]
The Crazies Poster
The Crazies isn’t a terrific movie, but it’s very solid and should do right by fans of the genre. They might want more blood, but this is enough. They might want more action, but what they get suffices. It’s a by-the-book potboiler, one which clearly had its sights set on being exactly that… read more [The Big Picture]
The Crazies video review [Lost in Reviews]
The Crazies video review [VaughnOnMovies]