In the 37 years since helmer George A. Romero foisted on us the $275,000 sci-fi/horror flick, “Crazies,” not much has changed except the value of the Dollar. The remake, billed as “The Crazies,” by helmer Breck Eisner, cost an estimated $12 million to make. It’s still pretty cheesy. And Romero gets executive producer credit.
Pic climaxes with an atomic bomb blast leveling an Iowa town. Too bad that its negative was not at ground zero. “The Crazies” is that awful. It gets half a star for some unintentionally funny scenes. It loses stars for telegraphing plot moves in advance, failing to build compelling characterizations, totally expected “Deus Ex Machina” resolutions when writers Scott Kosar and Ray Wright painted themselves into corners, crummy continuity, stilted dialogue, and blurry lensing. “The Crazies” uses every cheap trick to create suspense… and fails miserably.
Plot adheres fairly closely to the Romero original. Folks in a small town start going crazy, becoming homicidal maniacs. Source of the problem is quickly traced by Sherriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant, whom we last saw in the atrocious “Perfect Getaway”) to a downed jet in the town’s watershed. How a jet goes down in a small town without apparent damage and without an immediate response is beyond even the suspension of disbelief. This jet went down a week before pic’s action takes place. And no one save the town blowhard noticed.
We must mention pic’s funniest scene: The local undertaker has been infected. He goes after Sherriff Dutton with a high speed bone saw. Dutton subdues the mad mortuarian but the saw is still running. Propelled across the mortuary floor by its own motor, It heads straight for Dutton’s crotch until his deputy (Joe Anderson VI) steps on the power cord in one of those Deus Ex Machina moments. One wonders why the Army didn’t also cut off the electricity.
The purpose of a pic such as “The Crazies” is to create suspense, instill fear in audiences, and have them hanging on the edge of their seats for the ending. Fernando Meirelles did a far better job with similar subject matter in the 2008 “Blindness.”
Pic’s ending has sequel written all over it. Ultimately it will depend on the box office that this piece of trash does. “The Crazies,” which feels a good deal longer than its 101 minute run time, is rated “R” thanks to violence and repeated use of a four letter word for intercourse.