Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: The Crazies (2010)

Director: Breck Eisner
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson

So apparently this is a remake of a George Romero film from the early 70s, which I was not at all familiar with at the time of seeing this movie. Well, if that's the case, then I seriously doubt this 2010 remake version does it any justice, because this is a terrible film that I have a hard time believing anyone could actually derive enjoyment from.

Breck Eisner's The Crazies presents a story we've all seen a hundred times, done in a way that is not particularly engaging or well written. Yeah, yeah, you've got your small town, your stock characters - seriously, the sheriff is married to the only doctor in town? Pretty convenient, guys - and your nasty, evil government dropping nuclear weapon testing in without consulting anyone, resulting in, what else?, a full fledged zombie attack. Nothing about this movie really goes for the throat, like a good horror movie should. It's all very lethargically done, very tired. The acting is mostly phoned in, and the characters are pretty much uniformly bland. I don't really care what happens to them at any point in this movie.

Every horror cliche is explored in droves. Ooh, loud noises to make the audience jump. Ooh, dire situations avoided at the last possible second by a very, very convenient save - like one scene where Tim Olyphant saves his wife from the government right when she's about to be stabbed by one of the 'crazies.' How convenient is that? This wouldn't happen in real life. In real life, she'd be human meat in a few seconds flat; there's almost no chance that he'd get there RIGHT AT THE VERY SECOND she was about to be stabbed! I know it's silly to ask for a lot of realism in a horror movie, but things like this are exactly where a little bit of realism would be nice; so as to provide extra tension that will make us squirm.

Or how about another scene, where Radha Mitchell is tied up and Tim Olyphant gets ambushed as he comes to get her, getting stabbed through the hand with a knife. In a truly unbelievable stunt, he actually RIPS THE KNIFE OUT OF THE FLOOR and STABS HIS ATTACKER with it still lodged in his hand. The other attacker is then swiftly shot from through a window by Joe Anderson's deputy character, at an impossible angle from where he was shown to be standing. See what I mean? This is stupid! There's no tension here, no reason to fear for the characters when they're always saved without any kind of real harm coming to them. It's like a horror movie for people who hate horror movies - it's just about as safe and unassuming as can be.

And what the fuck is up with the jump scares? Is that really the best they can do, having loud bangs whenever someone comes in unexpectedly to startle the audience? It's dumb as shit. There's no thought, creativity or talent put into any of this, and they do it OVER AND OVER AGAIN. Yeah, go ahead Breck Eisner, keep on doing your fucking jumpy scares, don't bother trying to actually evoke an atmosphere or actually shock the audience, no! That's for pussies.

God, this sucks.

No character development, no excitement, no drive. This movie is just a safe trip down the production line with no surprises at all. Bottom line, The Crazies is horrible. It's got no balls, it rides on the coattails of a hundred better movies and there's simply nothing about it that's entertaining or interesting at all; a throwaway movie if there ever was one. I know it's a remake and that a lot of the supposed 'generic' things I mention here are probably trends started by movies like the original version of this, but then my question is, why does this remake need to exist at all when there are so many films that do this exact same thing but better? Just watch [REC], Pontypool, SLiTHER and Planet Terror for four modern movies that take this formula and actually make good movies out of it. I didn't expect anything from The Crazies and that's about exactly what I got. Wretched.