The Crazies (2010)
By: J.R. McNamara on August 25, 2010  | 
Roadshow | Region B | 2.40:1, 1080p | English Dolby True HD 5.1 | 101 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Breck Eisner
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker
Screenplay: Scott Kosar, Ray Wright
Country: USA
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It seems to me that nowadays the measure of a good genre director isn't his skill or his following, but rather how often his films are remade. Wes Craven, John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper are part of that 'we've been remade' club, but the king must be George Romero! All of his original 'dead' trilogy films have been remade (actually to date Night of the Living Dead has been done several times) and now, in an era where films like 28 Days Later already exist the Hollywood bigwigs felt his 1973 pandemic film The Crazies needed a completely superfluous modernization.

It's Spring in the small town of Ogden Marsh, and almost all the town has gone out to watch the local Baseball team play their opening game when a local farmer appears on the pitch carrying a shotgun. Sherriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) approaches him, but the confrontation soon turns sour when the farmer raises his gun. Obviously, Dutton defends himself with extreme prejudice.

This is the beginning of a chain of events which sees a virus that has poisoned the town water supply slowly turn most of the citizens crazy - shitball, murderous, nutso crazy - but it's not just the townsfolk that Dutton and his pregnant wife Judy (Rahda Mitchell) have to worry about. The government is well aware of the contamination, and has just the protocol to contain it: send in the troops, and 'clear out' the infected, but identifying the clean from the infected is a lot harder than they thought. And so the horror begins...

There are some wonderful scenes of pure menace in this film, the pitchfork scene being a particularly good example of this (when you see the film, you'll know the one I mean). Director Breck Eisner has a pretty good, if somewhat modern (read that as 'generic', if you will) style of direction and at no time will you be bored, though his cinematic 'scare' devices are never revolutionary.

Obviously this film is based on Romero's original script, but adapted by Scott Kosar, who previously scripted The Amityville Horror and Texas Chainsaw Massacre remakes, and Ray Wright, whose pedigree includes the Kairo remake Pulse. It looks as though one can make a career writing the previously written. My main disappointment with their script is the solution, which to me was stolen directly from a non-Romero Dead film. See it and you'll get my meaning.

Like a lot of remakes, this is not a bad film, it's just unnecessary. Romero's original film still has themes that are relevant today, so it really didn't need this "update". Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed many remakes, but would my life have been any different without them? Well no. The original Dawn of the Dead had a profound effect on the way I looked at cinema, whilst the remake, like this one, was a fun film, and that is it.

By the way, keep your eyes peeled for a cameo of cult film lovely, Lynn Lowry, who was in the original.
The Crazies on Blu-ray is offered in a pristine 2.40:1 letterbox presentation that is pretty damn nice.
The audio on this disc is presented in a sweet Dolby True HD 5.1 that sounds fantastic.
Extra Features
There is a decent amount of extras on this bluray disc.

First, we have an entertaining director's commentary with Breck Eisner where the director discusses the film, character motivation and the joy of destroying the Rockwellian small town myth. It's a fairly complete and informative commentary throughout.

Behind the Scenes with Director Breck Eisner is a fairly generic DVD extra with cast and crew discussing the film, intercut with behind the scenes footage and clips from the film.

Paranormal Pandemics looks at the origins of The Crazies' pandemic and how the disease would manifest, particularly attempting to avoid any similarities to the modern 'zombie' look. Also they looked at actual viruses to see what the virus 'Codename: Trixie' could look like.

The George A. Romero Template is a nice piece of respect thrown at Romero by his contemporaries and some of the commentators of horror. Obviously my invitation was lost in the mail. What's also cool about this piece is the Night of the Living Dead footage… on BD. Exciting!!

Make-up Mastermind: Rob Hall in Action looks at the make up effects performed by Robert Hall and his Almost Human spfx workshop. It's a pretty cool look at how make up stuff is done, though if you have any knowledge of make-up effects, you may not find it too interesting, but I always like watching this stuff.

The Crazies Motion Comic parts 1 and 2 are an animated prequel to the film. I am never too impressed by these so called 'motion comics' because all they seem to me are a bad Marvel animation from the late 60s, and animation has come a long way since then. I'd rather an actual comic included in the disc packaging. The story was OK though.

Visual Effects in Motion looks at the addition of CGI to some of the scenes, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much.

We also have a selection of trailers and teaser trailers, not just for the film, but also for the motion comic.

The Crazies Featurette: X Screening Video is some amateurish video footage, and some interviews with cast and crew, of what seems to be some kind of promo night. They don't actually don't go into what it is though.

There is also a Storyboards gallery and a Behind the scenes photo gallery.
The Verdict
Is it a brilliant, unique cinematic experience? Well it is a remake so the answer is obviously 'No', but as a film it is competently made horror with decent performances.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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