Like so many horror films of late, The Crazies is a remake of, what many consider to be, a lost gem from the seventies.
Godfather of zombie gore, George A Romero’s original 1973 movie was treading on familiar territory of out of control town folk killing others at will while under the influence of a virus.
After the hit and miss reactions of many remakes, from the cooing at the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the “so what?” attached to the remake of Last House on the Left and Friday 13th, and the already humdrum remakes of Romero’s Living Dead masterpieces, it is with a little trepidation that any true horror fan approaches this film.
It comes then as a pleasant surprise that The Crazies 2010 is a bloody, scary thrill-ride that equals the original and perhaps even builds upon it, something that many remakes forget to do.
The shocks and bloodletting commence almost as soon as the titles have gone from the screen as a toxin in the water supply of Ogden Marsh rapidly turns the residents from peaceful neighbours to psychopathic murders. A school baseball game turns into a shooting gallery, while a once loving husband traps his family in their home and burns it to the ground.
Of course we are on familiar horror movie license as the military attempt to contain the virus by sealing off the town, without thinking about those not infected, including the local Sheriff and his wife whose story drives much of the film’s narrative. In the middle of the escalating violence and mindless killing, which surely pushes the boundaries of the 15 certificate, it is the human story of survival that captivates and draws the audience into their plight. If you are unable to connect with a central character and feel anything for them at all, then the audience is lost and the film will be forgotten before they pass the popcorn machine on the way out.
For a remake in the horror genre, The Crazies ticks more boxes than most of recent years and I’m sure cinema goers who have hunted this one out will leave feeling satisfied and possibly a little unnerved about walking up a dark street in their little neighbourhood.
For those who are a fan of Romero’s original, there is no need to worry that your memories of the master’s work will be tarnished. Night of the Living Dead may have suffered inept remakes that even 20 years on make true Romero aficionados wince, but thankfully The Crazies has not suffered the same grizzly fate.