Movie Review: THE CRAZIES


Don’t get me wrong … this remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 flick of the same name (which I haven’t seen) is actually pretty good.  By which I mean, I enjoyed myself well enough while watching it.  No unforgiveably crappy dialogue, no egregious plot flaws, no interminable stretches of boredom, punctuated by zombie attacks.  And best of all, there is plenty of suspense, a good helping of crazed zombie attacks, and lots of genuine scares.  I actually put my hands to my eyes a couple times, which is embarrassing to admit, but usually a sign that the film is working as intended.  And there are some pretty memorable gore scenes — the attack at the carwash is decent, the pitchfork attack in the hospital is quite well-done, and I felt like I hadn’t seen these scenes 1,000 times before.  The film is gory at times, but it isn’t going to set any records, and I appreciated both of these facts.

That said, my problem with the film is that it seems entirely derivative of other zombie movies.  This was 28 Days Later in a lot of ways, with a hefty dose of Outbreak for good measure.  It wasn’t horribly dark like Evil Dead, nor was it rip-roaringly funny like Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland or Evil Dead II, but it does have its comedic moments.  With few exceptions, you won’t see anything new, and you’ll find yourself saying “This is like X, but not quite as memorable.”  Also, the zombies themselves aren’t that interesting.  But that’s OK.  The film still mostly works, as it does what it needs to do competently and effectively.

If you need a zombie fix this weekend, you won’t go wrong if you catch this flick.  But when your friends ask you next month what you thought of the movie, you won’t remember, and you’ll have to tell them that.  You’ll still be thinking about 28 Days Later, or Zombieland.

12 thoughts on “Movie Review: THE CRAZIES

  1. One criticism I read was that the film depends on too many cheap scares (i.e. loud noises or being startled) as well as too many convenient saves (an unknown savior shooting from offscreen at the last second).

    On the other hand they also said Timothy Olyphant (who I thought was great in Deadwood) really carried the film. To the degree it was successful he is due the credit.

    I probably won’t see it – it’s too hard to see films for me with young kids. I still have to see Zombieland. Sounds better than that awful Kevin Smith film with Bruce Willis. (Seriously – how does Kevin Smith still have a career? It’s purely because his early films in the 90’s had a high geek factor)

  2. Tim Olyphant has been good in everything I’ve seen him in (GO, being the most memorable example). I probably won’t see this movie though, just because it’s rare that I go out of my way to see a horror movie. It has to be very unusual in some way, rather than just the latest scare-fest. I’ve been meaning to see Zombieland. Maybe I’ll rent it this weekend.

  3. Clark, I completely agree with your observations. Cheap scares, check. Convenient saves, check. Tim Olyphant is great, check.

    And you both really need to see Zombieland.

  4. I really like Olyphant. He was great in Damages last season and he’s the only reason I’ll give FX’s new series, Justified, a try.

  5. After reading Eric Snider’s review, I really just wanted to see the car wash scene and the one with the kitchen knife.

    I keep seeing “Timothy Olyphant” and thinking “Timothy Omundson” and trying to imagine Lassiter from Psych in the role. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. (But I’m usually misreading it.)

  6. I forgot he was in Go. That was a fun little movie. Too bad the rest of his films outside of The Bourne Identity never lived up to that potential.

    The most memorable Olyphant moment was when he played a guy with this huge receding hairline on My Name Is Earl.

  7. Too bad the rest of his films outside of The Bourne Identity never lived up to that potential.

    I have no idea what movie or what actor you might be thinking of, but Olyphant was never in Bourne.

  8. Aren’t all zombie movies derivative of zombie movies? Zombieland is blatantly derivative of Shaun of the Dead, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead is derivative of 28 Days Later and it all can be traced back to Romero anyways.

  9. There was a sentence that got deleted. (Bad iPhone). The director of Go did the first Bourne movie and then did a load of crap thereafter.

  10. Fair enough, Brian, but I guess all I’m saying is that I want at least a little bit of originality in my zombie films. This flick was sort of like Independence Day — a film I couldn’t watch without thinking “if you take V, Star Wars and War of the Worlds out of this picture, there’s nothing left.” The Crazies didn’t really offer much of anything you haven’t seen in 28 Days Later, Outbreak, and a few other films. OK, OK, there were a few good moments, but not enough for me to get past the urge to compare it to everything, rather than fully appreciate it on its own.

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