This is another one of those horror remakes and I know a lot of people might moan and groan over horror film remakes, but The Crazies is actually a good one! This film features a very capable cast that plays their characters with a strong likability which makes for protagonists that we can root for and it sports a well written script that keeps things moving and provides a lot of great suspense.
The casting for this film is spot on and it needed to be spot on given that we have to follow these people for the majority of the runtime. Timothy Olyphant is able to play the lead role with a sense of lovability and toughness that works. He must be lovable because hell, if we don’t like him then there isn’t a whole lot of incentive to pull for him. I like that they made his character a family man and devoted husband but he also has a toughness that surfaces when things get dire. Him and Radha Mitchell, who plays his wife, have a great romantic chemistry that comes off as effortless, which is another must with a film like this. Giving the audience two actors that are able to play a believable couple that we want to see make it is a very strong hand and this film plays it.
The other main cast members consist of Danielle Panabaker and Joe Anderson. I’ve seen Panabaker’s other films such as Sky High, Friday the 13th, and Mr. Brooks and from seeing all her different performances, it’s clear that she’s talented for sure. I’ve never been an over the moon fan of hers but like I said she is talented and for the most part delivers what’s needed here. Anderson does a very good job with his supporting role and has some interesting material.
The film knows what’s most important when it comes to telling a story like this and it prioritizes chilling on the edge of your seat suspense and strong lead characters above all else. I was so glad to see that that is where the attention was being paid because if the focus is lost from those things in a film like this, you’re basically dead in the water. The script doesn’t waste much time on backstory or setting things up and gives us just enough to get our bearings before taking off.
And when it takes off, it really takes off. I liked how they introduced the military because that gave the plot another intriguing detail and made the story more than just a run of the mill zombie flick. They give us some interesting scenes as the plot begins to ramp up and yes the picture of the pitchfork scraping the ground that’s featured on the poster is a bone chilling scene. The pitchfork scene is able to create some serious terror and suspense and it does so without being overly excessive with the blood and guts. Multiple scenes are able to elicit genuine thrills and fear by taunting the audience and having those quiet moments, I appreciated this film relying on those things and not Saw type gore that others do. I think it’s cheap and pretty lazy to rely on disgusting over the top carnage to scare the audience get creative.
The pacing is quick and the suspenseful scenes come often, there isn’t much opportunity to get bored here. There are some very well done visuals and action shots in addition to all the suspense and terror. I can always appreciate some well done action. The best and most memorable one in this film was an extended somewhat slow motion shot of an SUV turning over and what can I say, it was wonderfully cinematic. Like I mentioned earlier, these two leads really are great protagonists and there’s some good dialogue towards the end between the two that I liked. Maybe it’s cheesy or whatever but I felt like hey I’d want a partner like this if I was on the run for my life. Having this believable couple that we want to see make it brings a human element that every horror film needs. Too many horror films give us bad characters that we don’t necessarily like and I feel like that’s a fatal mistake, having lovable people we come to care about makes the experience so much fuller. The only issue I had with this film was that I wanted the military aspect of the plot explained a little more thoroughly. Most of that is explained yes but I would’ve liked just a bit more expounding on that.
The Crazies delivered on what it needed to deliver on and it did that by giving us a talented cast who played lovable characters and by featuring a script that was both intensely suspenseful and more than your average zombie flick. It’s a thumbs up from me!
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