Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Crazies

... spoilers of a minor nature ...

Watched The Crazies last week, the modern re-imaging of the George Romero movie from almost forty years ago. I never saw the original, but it is somewhat notable in horror movie circles and I’ve heard bits and pieces of fluff and buzz about it over the years. I’d like to see it, but I’m in no hurry to seek it out.

With that in mind, the remake struck me as competant enough. It held my attention and interest during it’s perfect running time of 85 minutes. The story, in a run-on sentence: We follow a married couple attempting to flee their small Americana town and a hostile military after the townsfolk turn into homicidal maniacs due to an accidentally spreading government-created disease. Whew, that’s a mouthful.

That being said, all the standard horror cliches are present. In other words, it’s all Freddy and Jason and Stephen King movies, and none of Paranormal Activity or even The Fourth Kind. Which means, essentially, all the scares hinge on soundtrack volume bursts and fake make-up and gore, and none of the nuanced background willies your subconscious picks up moments before your surface awareness does. There is one notable exception, towards the end of the movie, but that immediately devolves into the ho-hum unstoppable psycho-super-killer-chasing-screaming-victim motif. Of which there are far too many in the movie.

But I don’t want to come across as beating up on the flick too much. For what it is, it’s good. That is, if you like those psycho-killer-chases, this is the movie for you. There are other good things, too. I liked all the leads; I liked the basic set-up and background story; I liked the apocalyptic aspect from the second half on. And the last ten minutes were superb. We’re treated to some spectacularly surreal special effects as a nuclear blast takes out, well, most of Iowa, I think.

One curiosity, which I may explore in a future post. The disease that overtakes Smallville, USA, is basically zombi-itis, of a fast-moving variety. I know the source material is George Romero, who made his bones on the undead, but it seems like every year there are a half-dozen zombie movies out. And add to that, a half-dozen vampire movies. Zombies and vampires, zombies and vampires, more zombies and more vampires. What is our culture’s fascination with the undead? I have some non-politically correct thoughts on this, which I’ll save for another day.

Anyway, if you’re into this kinda thing, rent it. Right after I saw it I would have graded it a B, but a week later, I’d give it a C+. Not much shelf-life. So, let’s average it to a B – .

No comments: