With most horror films, the threat comes from outside – a monster in the woods, a psycho escaped from an asylum, a ghost from the other side. But what if the menace was closer to home? What if it was infecting the people around you? What if your friends and family where unknowingly, unwittingly being transformed into mindless killers and you had no way to stop it, or them?
Welcome to the truly horrifying world of The Crazies, and welcome to one of the best horror films so far this year.
Small town sheriff David Dutton (Die Hard 4.0 and A Perfect Getaway’s Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife Judy (Silent Hill and Surrogates Radha Mitchell) find themselves plunged into chaos and danger when a mysterious virus starts spreading through Ogden Marsh, their sleepy hamlet in the heartlands of America.
The residents of this picture-perfect community are being overtaken by an uncontrollable bloodlust, compelled to kill their friends and families in horrible ways. With madness reigning, the military descend onto the town using deadly force to try and contain and control the epidemic, before it’s too late.
Unable to trust anyone and terrified of contracting the disease (and what it will do to them), the Dutton’s are forced into a fight for survival against the infection and the authorities in a journey through the living nightmare that was once there idyllic lives.
A remake of zombie king George A. Romero’s 1973 film of the same name, this is far from a lazy Hollywood rehash. Although fundamentally following the same story, the new script co-written by Machinist scribe Scott Kosar, is expertly crafted.
Packed full of panic and genuinely terrifying moments, the script makes sure to develop the characters fully showing their gloriously mundane everyday lives before plunging them into pandemonium – thus making the audience emotionally connect and even more afraid of the horrible danger coming from within.
One of the scariest things about The Crazies is how realistic it is. From the reactions and actions of the main characters brilliantly played by Olyphant, Mitchell and Brit actor Joe Anderson, to the local people’s descent into utter anarchy even to the make up and look of the infected psychos. Parallels can instantly be drawn with news stories from real life regarding Bird Flu and Swine Flu outbreaks and the fragility of our society that can crumble so easily once panic takes hold.
The inhuman gas masked military and their attempts to restore order at any cost also seems to be a subtle simile for the American governments beliefs on safety and security in our terror ridden times. This blinkered belief often, as in the film, leads to abuse of power, atrocities and the dehumanization of the population they are sworn to protect.
Relative new comer Breck Eisner, whose only major project previously was the Indiana Jones goes Eco-warrior movie Sahara, does a skillful job helming this horror adding flair to the frights and terrifying tension throughout. Blending creeping unsettling scenes with gory shocks and all out action the film flows flawlessly from start to finish.
One of the best horror films of the year so far, The Crazies is exactly how to remake a movie by respecting the original, updating the issues and increasing the horror.
You’d be crazy to miss it and I must be crazy to use such a bad joke as a closing line.
The Crazies is out in cinemas accross the UK today.