Monday, 19 July 2010

THE CRAZIES DVD review

Out on DVD and Blu-ray today is the remake of George A Romero's The Crazies.
Hit the jump for the trailer and more details...




Ogden Marsh is your average sleepy American town. No crime, no criminals, everything just falls into order. So when a local resident wanders onto the sports field with a shotgun, you know something's not right. One by one the townsfolk start to act a little odd, maybe even psychopathic. Maybe even crazy. Sheriff David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant) and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) try to keep the town in order and also discover what the cause is for all this insanity. When the military arrives to take over with drastic methods, David must reclaim his town and keep his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) and their unborn child safe.


This film is a remake of the 1973 original by George A. Romero, and whilst all of Romero's earlier films are seen to have a certain amount of prestige, it really wasn't a classic like Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead. So there was a lot of hope for this version, and if you're going to remake a film, why not remake one of the lesser known and forgotten ones?


And, it's a success of sorts. They've definitely taken the original concept and expanded it enough, adding some great special effects and set pieces. The film shifts nicely from the small town buzz to the hysteria that ramps up when the military tries to take charge.


Romero's earlier work was all about the allegories, with 'Night' being about race relations and 'Dawn' being about consumerist culture. Here the allegory is about over-zealous military action, in particular the US military's 'shoot first, ask later' methods. It's safe to say that that allegory resonates just as much, if not more, today as it did in 1973, but that story thread is not took as far as it could have gone.


The major problem that the film has is that it really, really wants to be the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead. That film managed to surpass expectations and to some (but not me), it's seen as an improvement on the original film. Like that film, the 2010 Crazies starts of with a Johnny Cash song to add a sense of foreboding misery. The poster art also prominently features a creepy little girl, much like Dawn of the Dead, even though she's not even a character worth noting in this film.


It's these comparisons that hurt the film. Although I enjoyed this film a great deal, it sure isn't a patch on 2004's 'Dawn' remake. Of course the main driving point of the story in 'Dawn' is that there's scores of Zombies running around eating people. Here 'the Crazies' are an obvious threat, but don't seem to be as deadly as Zombies. The one thing the Crazies have going for them is that you can't tell at first who's been infected and who hasn't. This is the trump card that this film doesn't use enough.


The ending scenario is a bit too fantastical, and seems to a little too bombastic to be a real military possibility, and they never fully embrace the craziness within, a la Cillian Murphy at the end of 28 Days Later, another film that this winks towards.


Altogether though this is an enjoyable Zombie-ish film with some good performances, in particular Joe Anderson as the possibly infected deputy, Russell. The concept runs out of steam before the credits roll, but it's an interesting enough idea at the start.


Verdict






Thanks to Trailer Addict for the use of the trailer. Head over there for more clips.

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