The Crazies is a remake of a movie by George A. Romero which I actually never saw. And for reviewing purposes I should have watched that one first, but I didn’t. Then again this does allow me to judge a movie like the general audience will do who also probably haven’t seen a 30+ year old low budget horror movie. The Crazies is another take on the Zombie genre. In this case a bio-weapon which was carried by a plane that crashed in the water is polluting a nearby town’s water supply changing the inhabitants of the town into autistic people who suddenly kill everyone they encounter without remorse, usually starting with their own family. And where there are zombies, there’s always a group of people trying to escape and in this movie these are the town’s sheriff, his wife and deputy.
The extra dimension here is brought by the fact that the military has isolated the village from the outside world, disabling and jamming all communications. They round up the villagers in order to isolate the virus and have no trouble shooting people that resist. So not only do people have to be afraid of the zombies, but the hard-lining military personnel as well, as it is not exactly clear what they have in mind for the townspeople they have rounded up.
The Crazies has its fair share of scares and creepy images. The pitchfork scene is ghastly, but so are most scenes involving seemingly normal people who turn violent without breaking a sweat or showing any emotion. The dead stare in their eyes is actually scarier than the shotgun someone is carrying.
Over the last couple of years we have been flooded by zombie movies. Remakes from old ones as well as new zombie concepts like 28 Days Later. The problem with these movies is the same as with the slasher movies. No matter how you try to reinvent the genre you always end up with a small group of people trying to escape from the killer(s). Being a remake doesn’t help much. Other than the creepy calmness of the “zombies” there is nothing new brought to the table, not even the efficiency shown by the military who immediately try to contain the outbreak.
I always wonder why it’s always those small towns that get struck by a Zombie attack. Except for London in the earlier mentioned 28 Days Later most of the times it’s Smallville USA that gets to deal with the “undead”. I’ll stick to the big city when on holiday, just in case.