This is a remake of the George Romero film that was originally released in 1973. When it comes to remakes, I come from the concept that if you can do something new or different with a film, there isn’t a problem with remaking it. There is no such thing as sacrilege. I won’t go too in depth at the moment, but remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre were films that I could respect, understand, and appreciate what was trying to be accomplished in the updates. I feel as though this version of The Crazies can also be added to the list.
The story of both films involves a small town where a biological weapon designed by our government “accidentally” goes off, and everyone has a virus that makes them crazy, for lack of a better term. The military then comes in to handle the situation. I felt as though the original wasn’t about gore or creating a sense of terror, but played more into the paranoia involved when you don’t know who to trust, whether it be your neighbor who might be infected or your military who is supposed to be there to protect you. I actually found the tension to be more comparable to Dr. Strangelove, with all of its scenes involving arguments between people in charge of the situation. It was also similar to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, which is about a group of survivors surrounded by infection having to deal with the fact that at any moment they too could become infected, and there wasn’t much of an outside world to protect them. The 1973 version wasn’t bad, definitely not my favorite Romero movie, but had some cool concepts.
The remake followed the same points, involving a biological weapon in a small town, but it was less about the political aspect and was more about the reality of the situation that the survivors found themselves in. Based on trailers, I assumed it was going to be all gore and no substance, just yet another movie that was based on death sequences that had a plot scribbled in crayon to kill time between bloodshed. I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn’t the case. This film certainly had its share of bloodshed involving pitchforks and gunfights, and a particularly entertaining scene involving a creative way to stab someone in the neck. I was quite impressed with the ability of the filmmakers to give the actors opportunities to try and figure out who was infected and who wasn’t. We’ve seen this device applied in plenty of movies where characters extremely obviously show what their true character flaws are. I think most of the credit for this film should go towards the Deputy, played by Joe Anderson. He not only connected you to the characters that you hoped they would remain uninfected, and did a great job with his outbursts that hinted he might be going crazy, but then came back from those frantic moments to remind you he was human. If you’re looking for a contemporary horror movie that pays homage to the source material and tries to tell a different story rather than just making a quick buck, I definitely recommend it.
Wolfman Moon Scale