The Crazies – A Review

During the awards season, one is generally spoiled for choice with quality films at the cinema. I had the choice this particular Sunday of Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Invictus or Precious. So what did I choose to see? The Crazies directed by Breck Eisner.

I had been excited to see this film since I first saw the trailer, as I actually had no idea what the film was about. It looked like a zombie film but it didn’t appear to have any zombies. It was a thriller but with a creepy edge. It looked like it could have been the film that M. Night Shayamalan’s The Happening should have been.

The film takes place in the Midwestern town of Ogden. A tiny farming community with only 1,200 people where everyone knows everyone and life is good. That is until a few of the towns folk start displaying strange symptoms and start acting a little….well, crazy.

After a military plane is found in the local river, the government is sent in to round everybody up and lock down the town to see who is infected. When the town’s sheriff’s wife is mistakenly diagnosed as a “crazy”, he risks his life to rescue her and to escape to the next big town. This is harder than it seems because not only do they have to evade the crazies, they also have to avoid the army who are taking no prisoners.

I tend to find the main problem with films of this kind is that they take too long to establish characters and plot, and the scare set-pieces are too few and far between. Not so with The Crazies. Events get going in the first five minutes and never lets up. The Crazies is simply one of the best horror films I have seen for a while.

I know this may sound cheesy, but I really was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Like any good horror film, the scares come thick and fast and are really well. One particular scene in a morgue was particularly creepy and will make you think twice before you ever pull the sheets off of somebody again. The camera work is shaky and in your face, but in this instance it fits perfectly as it contrasts the scares brilliantly with the vast landscapes of Iowa during the few quieter moments.

It’s main focus is just to scare the pants off you. There is no needless exposition explaining why people are the way they are. There is no cheese filled dialogue getting in the way of the action. It is a very real story with real character motivations. There are no scenes breaking into labs or discussing cures. There are no plots to take down the government, the characters main focus is simply to survive.

The actors all do there jobs considerably well. Timothy Olyphant does a good job as the sheriff and you and was also impressed with his wife, played by Radha Mitchell, who I usually have no time for. Joe Anderson who plays the Sheriff’s Deputy is also very impressive, especially when you realize that he is English, and you can put this mostly down to the script as we can all relate with our primal survival instincts.

The Crazies is not a perfect film by any strectch of the imagination, and sure there are some things wrong with it. Believe it or not, but I thought there were too many scares. After 2/3 of the film, it became a bit predictable as you knew every time they sat down or relaxed a crazy was going to attack. I’m sure some people won’t be too pleased by the explanation to the virus, or the lack of back-story to our characters, but I believe some of these “weaknesses” are the films strengths.

The Crazies doesn’t break the mould in any way, but mainly solidifies and builds on it. And while it might not be the perfect film and does contain a few flaws, what it does do, it does very well. And that is play to its strengths by keeping you on the edge of your seat until it makes you jump out of it. If you are getting bored of the recent race for Oscar gold or are getting sick of the latest 3D blockbuster, The Crazies is the perfect antidote.

Categories: Film, Reviews


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