Release Date: 26th February 2010
The Crazies is a 101 minute film that had me jumping from start to finish (especially the first jump, I almost fell out of my chair) and manages to make you flinch even when you know the moment is coming. It seems to me that there have been a lot of horror films made recently (Whiteout, Mirrors and Deadline to name a few) that have really fallen short of what they could have been. So I am really pleased to write that this film has begun to restore my faith.
The Crazies is set in a small town in Iowa whose water supply becomes contaminated with a virus which, before death, causes insanity and murderous tendencies in those affected. The main characters are husband and wife David and Judy Dutton (Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell) the town’s Sheriff and Doctor, (which is a bit predictable, but it works), who try to escape a contamination lock-down imposed by the government.
One of the really clever things about The Crazies is the story line. In most horror films of this nature we are kept guessing about the origin of the virus that is turning humans into ‘crazies’, and are expected to be shocked when it is finally revealed to be an escaped monkey on a biting rampage or aliens trying to destroy us from the inside. In this movie they let you know straight away what is the cause of the illness, and although it’s not an original or breath- taking idea, by not making it the centre of the film it allows the audience to focus more on the characters’ survival.
The Crazies is not a needlessly gory horror film, which is another turn away from what seems to be the norm, and makes any blood and guts that is there even more potent. The most memorable scenes, however, were the ones without any gore at all, such as the scene where a man affected by the illness burns down his house with his wife and son inside. Another plus is that there is only one instance in this film which makes you think: ‘But why didn’t they…?’ which, in my opinion, is pretty good in the horror genre.
When I went to see it, I didn’t know The Crazies was a remake (first made in 1973) and after a quick glance online, it seems that many people who’ve seen the original didn’t care for this version. As I haven’t seen the original (yet) I can’t say if this is better or worse, but as a new film in its own right, it is deliciously horrifying.
P.S. I’d just like to put a little bit on the end to write how happy I am about the Oscars. Hurt Locker won six out of the nine awards that it was up for, including the big ones: Best Film and Best Director. This meant that the massive blockbuster Avatar only got three (Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects, of course) but I think it’s made enough money to make up for lack of awards. Also a big cheer for Sandra Bullock who won Best Actress in a Leading Role for Blind Side!