Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Crazies (2010)

This film is a remake of George A. Romero's 1973 film of the same name, Directed by Breck Eisner The Crazies was a film I was highly excited about through its use of a gripping premise and clever advertising and I was very interested in going to see at the cinema when it was released, but unfortunately I was unable to and so greatly anticipated the DVD release. So was my excitement justified or does this film fall into the same categories as The Wolfman remake and Daybreakers as films I was greatly disappointed with?

The film stars Timothy Olyphant (Die Hard 4) as David Dutton the sheriff of Ogden Marsh a small town in Iowa, but all is not well in this small community on account of all the CITIZENS GOING CRAZY! and soon the military descends upon the town in order to enforce a quarantine and take control of the situation. But things begin to grow particularly hazardous for those left uninfected as the the military clashes with the crazed citizens and the civilians struggle to escape from their home that has turned into war zone.

As you may expect this film throws up a lot of cliches such as the Army posing an equal if not greater threat than the Infected themselves and characters being introduced solely to be killed off a few scenes later.
But there are also many features that are highly underplayed. I couldn't help but feel that the theme of family and friends suddenly turning on one another is not really given its deserved attention in order to gain the full emotional impact of having to fend off someone you have known for years who is suddenly curious about what your insides look like.
Also as strange as it sounds the Crazies themselves don't have as much screen time as they require in order for the audience to constantly fear them throughout the film but when they do appear they often hold a truly terrifying presence on screen with a scene at a car wash and another at a funeral home being highlights of the film and great settings for gritty and brutal battles that leaves you on edge of your seat.

Timothy Olyphant is an enjoyable lead as the towns sheriff David Dutton who's major motivation is purely to get his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell) out of the town and to safety, this simple drive makes him a highly relatable and realistic character as he and his wife bicker amongst themselves as the danger grows much like any couple would in such a tense situation making their relationship believable.
Also a pleasant surprise comes from Joe Anderson who is able to portray his character Deputy Russell Clank incredibly well, making him a likable and sympathetic character who is shown to have a close bond constantly backing up and rescuing Dutton from danger but all the while is shown to be fighting a losing with the virus, and his sanity begins to suffer.
The army is shown to be lead by the same dumb-asses the were in "28 Weeks Later" with military decisions bungled or made too late causing more harm to the situation than good. But one of my favorite actors makes a surprise appearance Glenn Morshower from "24" and "Black Hawk Down" appears due his continued ability to play an commanding officer far better than anyone else, even those who have actually been in the army.

The effects are amazing as the town suddenly falls into chaos with the burning streets looking both incredible and dramatic and also highlight the descent of the town creating a wonderful hellish appearance.
As we've come to expect in today's films the explosions are powerful and stunning but in this film are never over done for the sake of spectacle.
Finally a special mention goes out to the effects on the crazies themselves with a horrific and shocking rabies infected appearance given to those who have been exposed to the virus the longest, this brilliant effect created by the make up artists gives the crazies a edge and makes them look far more menacing than they did in the original and yet they also appear highly realistic but once again the effects never go over the top which makes the film all the more believable.

The "Trixie" virus itself is an interesting aspect of the film as with most bio-horror films the fictional virus being a key element to the films sucsess. Its interesting to watch the way that the virus after an incubation period slowly degrades its victims into ruthless blood-thirsty killers before ultimately killing them.
The plot runs forward at a comfortable pace spending plenty of time to establish the location and characters before completely tearing them down as the situation decays. Much of the exposition is given by the army on account of the fact that they are the only people who know what the hell is going on, with the rest being discovered by Dutton himself.

To be honest this is really the kind of film I was hoping it would be with the battles are brutal the atmosphere tense, the film is not as scary as I hoped but there are some moments that will make you leap out of your seat if you don't expect them. So all in all a very enjoyable movie and I happily recommend that you see this film as it is a great watch and possibly one of my favorite films of the year so far..

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