Perhaps laying on my living room floor while recovering from an allergic reaction all by my lonesome wasn’t the best time to watch The Crazies.
I should explain that though I’m crazy about scary movies, the really good ones that scare you spitless, I’m just a little…frightened of the really good ones. Fortunately, or rather, unfortunately, there haven’t been many good ones in a looong time.
Ever since I saw the preview for The Crazies, I had a feeling it would be good, really good. Only, the last few promising scary movies had let me down. The Happening was good, but the reveal of what was causing the mass suicides was anti-climatic, the science was cooky, and it wasn’t so much scary as thought provoking. While Devil was better at being creepy and gave me more to think about, it wasn’t high in the scare stakes (unless you count the horror of possible damnation). From the previews, The Crazies started off well, but where would they go with it? Had the previews ruined the best parts?
Any good horror movie has to do a few key things: either question or validate our humanity, which means it either shows the awful cruelties we can inflict on one another, usually in a bid for survival or it makes us feel comfortable in the knowledge that in the face of great evil, we never lose our humanity and care for others; it has to challenge societal norms or government policy (indeed, George Romero claims his zombies were greatly influenced by the times–Vietnam, especially), and; whether anyone actually lives, there is no real happy ending. The Crazies hits every single mark.
The Crazies takes place in a small town outside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The local sheriff (played by someone who looks just like Josh Duhmel (sp?), in my opinion) has to kill the town drunk at a baseball game. Later that same day, a man murders his family. At the same time, the Sheriff and his deputy are investigating the discovery of a parachuted body in the river. As bizarre instances of violence mount, and the army becomes involved, the citizens must fight for their survival.
It’s difficult to say in how many ways this movie scared, aggravated, and touched me without giving away too much of the movie, which, I think would be especially cruel. Part of what makes this movie good is the slowly dawning horror of just what has happened here. The climax of the movie was a little unbelievable, but with all of the groundwork that they laid for it made it believable enough in the context of this fictional world. They pulled off the dramatic twist at the end as well. Rather than worrying whether or not they would force feed me a horrible sequel, I was amazed at what it implied for these ficticious people I’d been watching and rooting for.
The special thing about this movie was not only was it horrifying, I really cared. I wasn’t just watching to see how gruesomely they could kill people; I actually wanted these people to live. The horror wasn’t in the effects but in the story, the scenario.
Update: Through extensive Netflix research, I found out that this is a remake of a *gasp* George Romero film. How ON was I? Seeing the original is on my list of things to do now. The consensus seems to be that this version improved upon the original.
- Who will direct Universal’s OUIJA Film… McG or Breck Eisner? (geektyrant.com)
- Saturday’s Six: Movie-Inspired Phobias (mutantreviewers.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Horror Movies of 2010 (moviefone.com)
- Suspected Mass Suicide: Police Searching for 5 adults and 8 kids (rawjustice.com)