I had high hopes for this movie. Romero’s original was begging for an update and early buzz was that this remake did all the right things. The trailers had me intrigued, I like Timothy Olyphant and I was ready for a good horror… A good horror I did not get.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it concerns a small town where people are starting to become inexplicably unhinged. More specifically they begin to commit violent acts with complete disregard for their relation to their victims. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant), his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) and a family friend, Becca (Danielle Panabaker). Together they must fight for survival against whatever mysterious force has taken over their town as well as the military who is there to contain it.

My main issue with THE CRAZIES is there nothing here that hasn’t been done before. It’s a series of recycled boo scares, repeated scenes and long stretches of not much happening. There’s a few lines of mind-numbingly bad dialogue and a few instances of character decisions that boggle the mind. The script was just not fully cooked and demanded we take it seriously when it didn’t even have confidence in itself. Take for instance a scene where a character does a 180 shift in personality with no warning followed by some moments of “tension”. It reeks of desperation on the part of the writers to build suspense from elements they failed to setup in the first place.

It isn’t all bad. There’s a few moments of fun violence particularly in the one truly tense scene as an armed crazy makes his way through a room full of strapped-down patients. Olyphant does a pretty spectacular job with what he is given to work with. Many have touted Anderson’s performance as Deputy Rusell Clank as standout. However, his brief bursts of comic relief seem very out of plays for a movie that relies 100% on atmosphere after the plotting found only in the first act. There is little doubt this movie will do well and it’s a step in the right direction. But if the journey to the return of good studio horror is paved with THE CRAZIES, I fear we still have a bit of a way to go.


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