The Crazies | Breck Eisner, 2010
It seem that I always say this every time I review a horror movie, but good horror is extremely difficult to find. I guess that is because for me a good horror movie doesn’t rely too much on graphic violence and shock value, but rather atmosphere. Also, it has to have a great villain and character that I care about so that I could be scared when they are in danger. And very few deliver on this. However, I had hopes for The Crazies just for the premise alone. I’ve not seen the original, so I can not compare them, but I was severely disappointed by it.
The Crazies takes place in a small town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa. It’s your typical town filled with farmer and America-loving individuals. One day, while most of the town is on the opening game of the local baseball team, with sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) present, a man with a shot gun walks to the middle of the field. The sheriff then has to shoot him. Then, a man traps his wife and child in a closet and sets the house on fire. Clearly, there is something wrong going on. Soon, the Army has sealed off the town and takes everyone, separating those who are believed to be sick, and those who are supposed to be safe. Dutton is taken with the healthy people while his wife (Radha Mitchell) is left behind, so he goes back to get her, but getting out is the problem as the crazies and the army stand in their way.
I thought that this movie could have been great. I mean, the premise is rather and it was perfect to spoof the army. But everything was done wrong. First, it was by the director of Sahara, one of the blandest movies I’ve ever seen. Second, the script has just about every cliché in the book, and they take things too seriously. Everything went down from there.
Like I said, I value atmosphere more than violence. Sure, there has to be some violence in a horror movie, but it doesn’t beat the tension created by the director of photography, the composer, and the sound designers. And here there is no creepy atmosphere. The day scenes are sun drenched and the night scenes are almost too dark to see. With that, all I could focus on was the violence, but even that felt tacked on. Also, the score was sometimes too loud when it should have been subtle and haunting. This movie should have had the kind of atmosphere that The Road had, but no.
Next, the characters. Sigh, I guess I could have liked the character, but too little time is spent on them for me to do so. Am I just supposed to feel sorry for the doctor because she is pregnant? Probably, and since I didn’t, the I’m probably a horrible human being. The sheriff, his deputy, the doctor’s assistant. I didn’t care for any of them. And the performances didn’t help, but they weren’t bad.
The Crazies could have been a brilliant movie, but it just comes off as lazy. Now, I go back to my wait for a great horror movie.