Continuing my reviews of movies that no one else has reviewed yet because of my elite access to these films. I'm reviewing films well before anyone else chimes in!
37 years ago George Romero decided that he didn't want to be pigeonholed anymore as the guy who made zombie movies so he went out on a limb and made a movie about mindless, relentless, plodding monsters instead. The movie was called The Crazies. I never saw the original, but I hope it is better than the remake.
Zombie movies at this point are a little like Shakespeare plays: They were groundbreaking at one time, but now can come off as dusty and antiquated. Unless you reinvent the model in some way. And yes, I am calling this a zombie movie because they called 28 Days Later a zombie movie and this is 28 Days Later. In fact, I felt like 28 Days Later actually fit the bill of reinvention which is why it was both a critical and popular success. Maybe it was ignorance though. Maybe it was just biting off The Crazies. But I don't mind something biting from something else. especially if it is good. I only mind it when it doesn't feel exciting or fresh or new. 28 Days Later did. This doesn't.
As the story goes, some sort of unnamed toxin has infected a small Iowa town turning the living into zombies, er, I mean raging psychopaths. And then of course there are a few "survivors" (?) who try and stay alive. Two of them is Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, both of whom, in the only clever conceit in the whole movie, are playing themselves - the actors Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant. They were there to shoot a sequel to Field of Dreams (in the movie only, breath easy), when all hell starts to break loose. When extras try and attack the lead actors it comes off as comical though, and not in the least bit scary, and that's kind of a recurring theme.
The Crazies doesn't know if it wants to be Shawn of the Dead or Night of the Living Dead. There's one strange scene straight out of gremlins when our two accidental protagonists walk into a bar and all of "the crazies" are tearing up the place like they were just really rowdy patrons. There is a "band" that is playing the Star Wars theme song on the skulls of recent kills. Its just kind of dumb, and I think it was the filmmaker Breck Eisner's intention for it to be disturbing. I guess if people find Cannibal Holocaust disturbing then they will find The Crazies really disturbing. I was anxious about this movie because the previews make it seem amazing, but I was thoroughly disappointed. It was hard for me to hide my displeasure from the producers when i left after this command screening for me only, so I don't think this review comes as any surprise. Nor will they be surprised by reviews just like it.
* I have never seen this movie nor the original