Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Crazies (Review)

     Crazed, bio-warfare zombies in a small town quarantined by the government; so much promise and so little delivery. 

     "The Crazies," a remake of George Romero 1973 film by the same name, is about a small Iowa farming community where residents are going insane.  Very slowly and calmly they become homicidal, bloody, and then dead.  Sheriff Dutton, played by Timothy Olyphant, who, surprisingly, is not a former police officer from 'the big city' who's come to a small town to get away from city crime and police drama, (everything else about the film was completely cliche, why shouldn't that be?) begins to piece together why townsfolk are ever so slowly going nuts, and figures it out, all too conveniently, just in time for the government to show up, quarantine the area, and evacuate everyone who isn't a bio-zombie.  Sheriff Dutton must, of course, escape from the government quarantine, to find his pregnant wife who has been falsely identified as being one of the crazies.  They then proceed to hook up with a couple of other survivors and wander around Iowa, trying to find a car and escape government quarantine.  

     This film has so many failings.  Where to begin?  Let's start with the fact that there is no tension.  Every time they try to build tension, it's obvious what's going to happen next, so there is no tension, just a long, boring moment where you wait for the bio-zombie to pop out, the gunshot that will save someone at the last second, or nothing at all.  (Ha ha, fooled you.  Not really.)  It got tedious quickly.  Also tedious was all the walking.  Most of this movie is people walking, or taking very short lived trips in vehicles, that they walked miles and miles to get to.  Some of this walking is supposed to be character development, but the characters are extremely cliche, so you know where all that's going as well.  The plot, if you can call it that, wanders around as much as the four main characters.  They are trying to escape, they are trying to find people, they are trying to escape, they are trying to find the military, they are trying to avoid the military, they are heading for the military, they are hiding from the military, and then they are trying to escape yet again.  Once you get the basics, bio-zombies, government quarantine, and a small group of survivors, all the characters in this movie do is slowly walk from one place to another, hoping to find a vehicle, and then they lose it really quickly.  Most of their wandering is pointless as well.  Why get a car when black hawk helicopters are constantly patrolling and killing anything that moves?  Why walk along the highway when black hawk helicopters are constantly patrolling and killing anything that moves?  Why head for the largest known concentration of military forces in the area if all you are going to do is try to sneak past them?  Worse than the lack of direction is the 'plot convenience theater' happening throughout the movie.  More than once, people outside or in other rooms, who don't have a clear view of what is happening, take miracle gun shots that take out bio-zombies and save their comrades in the nick of time.  Need to set a bio-zombie on fire?  Good thing you just happened to grab a lighter about five minutes ago.  Bio-zombies want to attack you while you're in the car?  Good thing it suddenly develops engine trouble and won't start.  All the convenient coincidences only make the predictability of the film worse because, now, you know exactly what's going to happen and it's highly unlikely. 

     There isn't nearly enough action or bio-zombie attacks to make this film likable to action or horror movie fans and the complete lack of plot, character development, pacing, and just about everything else that goes into making a movie makes it unenjoyable to anyone else.  (Except maybe the kid two seats over texting non stop.)  Skip this hack of a remake and go rent (illegally download) the George Romero version.  I haven't seen it and have no idea how good it is, but it has to be better than watching four people wander aimlessly through empty fields in Iowa


     The only moment that actually took me by surprise is when the sheriff gets stabbed through the hand, but that was it and definitely not worth the ticket price.  Good thing Abby bought the tickets.  Hopefully he'll forget I owe him on this one. 

1 comment:

  1. It absolutely gets the job done. It doesn't light the world on fire - actually it does, but only literally, not metaphorically - but it's not trying to and it doesn't want to. Good Review!