The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies, 2010 edition, is yet another classic cult horror movie remade to the cellphone generation in recent years, but unlike most of the other remakes, this one actually turned out to be somewhat halfway decent flick and one of the better Timothy Olyphant movies I’ve seen. I mean, it’s not that hard to top Hitman but you know, I genuinely had fun with this up to a point. Tim doesn’t really make you go “wow”the way he does in Justified, but he is entirely serviceable as the token straight-laced action hero as the town sheriff who is trying to rescue his wife and flee to safety once the virus outbreak starts and chaos takes root into the surrounding neighborhood.

As far as a quasi-zombie movies go, this is a bit too run of the mill for me and it really doesn’t offer much of anything unique or particularly memorable. It’s a very mediocre product, but that still puts it in front of most horror remakes that we used to see put out when that was the latest trend in Hollywood. The most interesting thing about the movie ends up being the government quarantine protocol that starts getting enforced with extreme prejudice, and I kinda ended up wishing we would have seen more of that, rather than the movies deciding to focus simply on being a dime a dozen action oriented, cliché survival flick. Still, the little you get of the quarantine process before all hell breaks loose is pretty well done.

The cast is entirely alright, I guess. Danielle Panabaker is barely in the movie and doesn’t really do much outside of being a token teen face  character, but it was kinda fun seeing her, even if it took me awhile before I realized it was actually her. I don’t know why it took me so long to recognize her, I felt a bit dumb when I finally realized who she was. I guess already talked about Olyphant, but I’d add that he is entirely at home in the role if the sheriff, but he do feel a bit like he was on autopilot in the movie. Radha Mitchell as the pregnant wife was just entirely forgettable and Joe Anderson as the deputy, who late in the game discovers he’s infected, didn’t really make much of an impression, outside of you wishing he’d just get killed already after you realize he’s not going to be an important character.

It was a bit funny how quickly the town turns into a postcard version of a zombie apocalypse, with small fires, wrecked cars and desolate streets everywhere you look once the CDC quarantine center in the town is compromised. I know it’s a trope, but you can’t help but to roll your eyes a little at how lazy it felt.

The second half of the movie has a glaring fundamental flaw in not having a very clear sense of what the supposed threat or antagonist for the main cast is suppose to be, so there is no looming sense of danger or suspense. Stuff just happens and occasionally people die. There are no real stakes involved, even Timothy Olypthant’s pregnant wife doesn’t get you invested in the group’s survival because she’s such a dull character with very little depth to her. The crazies only make token appearances here and there and don’t appear to work in large hordes, so it doesn’t really feel like they pose a real danger outside of the scenes where the plot calls for them to feel like an actual threat, like when they take the characters by complete surprise. As for the government troops with itchy trigger fingers, they are so much off screen and mostly get painted as incompetent when they do appear that again diffuses any sense of real danger coming from their direction. Hell, even when you have the big climactic countdown to the moment when the bomb that will wipe the town from the map is being triggered, it doesn’t manage to really feel particularly scary or intense.

As easy digestible entertainment where you switch off your brain, the the Crazies remake is entirely passable. If you have nothing better to do, it’s a good way to spend an hour an a half. But it’s not a good horror movie. It’s far from being scary and the survival angle is entirely blasé and even the action is subpar. As long as you know what you’re in for, you won’t end up disappointed by this.

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