Directed by: Breck Eisner
Written by: Scott Kosar & Ray Wright
Creeping Jesus, I thought — is there no movie safe from the twisted clutches of the Hollywood film industry and their insatiable thirst for remakes? These days it seems like no film is off-limits, and in my experience of past Hollywood remakes, rarely do they come close (let alone improve) on the original. But is it any wonder? All one has to do is look at the films that are being remade: classics. It’s not like the industry is looking through the archives of films that had the potential to be good, but fell short because of budget or acting restrictions. Instead they’re dusting off big-named cult classics and bringing them into the modern day.
I’m really not as cynical as it probably sounds: unlike a number of horror purists out there, I refuse to judge a film until I’ve seen it. I may be skeptical about remakes, but in all fairness there are a good number of them that I really dig, including: Night of the Living Dead (1990), 13 Ghosts, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, and The Hills Have Eyes to name a few. And how many of us either forget or simply aren’t aware that John Carpenter’s The Thing, a film that has secured the status of cult classic in the minds of numerous film fans, is also a remake of an earlier film. To put it simply: I’m not against remakes, I’m just against bad remakes.
Stepping into the packed theatre on this late night in March, I had no idea what to expect. The Crazies had a very successful opening weekend, which was certainly promising — but how many people were even familiar with George A. Romero’s original film? Was the film just another watered-down remake intended to cash in with the new generation of tween horror fans?
The lights dimmed, and ninety minutes later—
—I was nodding in approval. The Crazies, though differing from the original in more ways than one, was a faithful reinterpretation, and a bloody entertaining one at that. The story was essentially the same as in the original (those not familiar with it should either see the original, or instead read a plot synopsis) but with the added overtones of a post-911 America. It’s no secret that director George A. Romero is known for two things: gut munching gore and social commentary. The remake was not obscenely gory by any means — though still quite violent at times — but instead focused on building great moments of tension and suspense. The use of jump tactics is generally a cheap way that inferior horror films achieve a reaction from the audience. In The Crazies the jumps were all well planned and were doubly effective because of the excellent filmmaking involved in setting them up. The film had substance, and above all, creativity; making use of unusual locations (I’ll think twice about using an automatic car wash again…) and in every sense of the word was a genuine thrillride.
As I found out, I wasn’t the only one giving a nod of approval to the film. Director George A. Romero, after watching a screening of the remake, said that he ‘enjoyed the movie’ and found it to also be well acted. If the man who brought us the original classic gave it the thumbs up, far be it for me to disagree.
As of this moment The Crazies is still playing in the theatres, and to really get the full experience I suggest you go and check it out on the big screen. This is one remake that certainly did not disappoint.