Directed by Breck Eisner and written by Scott Kosar & Ray Wright, The Crazies (2010) is a remake of the 1973 film directed by George A. Romero. It stars Timothy Olyphant, Rhada Mitchell and Joe Anderson. The plot sees a toxic spill into a small American town's water system turn some of the locals into marauding maniacs.
Eisner's movie is that rare old thing these days, that of the horror remake that greatly improves on the original. That might annoy some Romero purists, but the truth is is that his original film really isn't that great to begin with. Thus it's ripe for a remake, whilst acknowledging that a certain weariness creeps in to our thoughts at the seemingly never ending line of horror remakes churned out by a Hollywood running out of ideas. Hell I will even venture that we have seen all this before, nothing in this Crazies will have the horror faithful rushing out to tell their buddies about some overtly cranial splendour piece they have just watched. But this is a very effective horror piece, taut and tense at times, at others sick and splendidly disgusting. Eisner may not be a Craven, or for sure no Romero, but he executes the material with gusto and shows a knack for knowing how to make the material work.
The film is structured over three parts - - character formations in the little town of the delightfully small Americana sounding Ogden Marsh, which leads into the infected going doolally-the army attempting to get things under control-and then the fall out as our brave survivors, erm, try to survive and make sense of what is happening. Eisner and his writers even get away with not fleshing out the principal characters. We know Olyphant's Sheriff is a toughie, and that his pregnant wife, Mitchell, is equally resourceful, while the deputy played by the film's standout performer, Joe Anderson, we know is loyal and sharp with a rifle. Who cares about flesh on these bones, let the crazies after them and see how they cope! Where the writers score good points is with the portrait of a world losing its humanity. The sick are rounded up and contained, nobody cares enough to try and help them, while those sent to restore order, to protect the people, are as dangerous as those bleeding from the eyes and ears. Madness everywhere.
With memorable blood pumping scenes, bona fide suspense and metaphorical smarts in the writing, this is one damn fine remake shocker. 7.5/10