Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bald Mountain Night 26: The Crazies

Each day in October, intrepid blogger Alex Boivin will watch a horror movie. These movies are all new to him and are part of his month-long effort to fill in his gaps in the horror canon. If he doesn't die from fright, you just might get to read about about his exploits in cinema during the Halloween season.

Around this time last year, a funny thing happened: ads started popping up for a remake of George A. Romero's little-discussed 1973 film The Crazies. I myself really didn't pay them any mind: "Oh great, another shitty remake of a horror movie. Oh, what's that? They have the Gary Jules version of "Mad World"? What, did David Fincher direct these ads? Who cares?" Well, apparently a lot of people ended up caring. 2010's own Crazies blazed a trail through the desolate winter box office and critics' reviews like a bat out of Hell. I had at one point planned on watching both the remake and the original in an effort to compare and contrast the two, but then I realized I didn't care and just wanted to see this sleeper.

Timothy Olyphant stars as a small town sheriff who witnesses the strange phenomenon of seemingly normal townsfolk turning from mild-mannered Middle Americans into dead-eyed psycho killers. It turns out that the government accidentally spilled an experimental biological weapon into the town's water supply and if the titular maniacs don't get Olyphant, the military quarantine crews will.

I'm reluctant to label Crazies one of the better horror films of the past decade but I might have to label Crazies one of the better horror films of the past decade. It isn't that original (duh): it's still the tried-and-tried Survivors Escape the Infected and The Government Is Also Evil movie but it hits all the right notes and delivers some good scares and setpieces. Seth Bullock vs. bonesaw is readily apparent as a standout, as is an attack in carwash. Sure it's leftovers, but sometimes reheated junk food tastes pretty good.

But was it scary? As scary as any of the recent zombie-esque genre films, but I'm a city boy from Minnesota so the sight of murderous Iowans is especially chilling for me.

Final Verdict: 64 Congos