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Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Crazies’ Updates Classic For a New Generation

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CHICAGO – Horror remakes almost always fall flat as too many filmmakers fail to recapture the magic of the original but there seems to be something about George A. Romero’s films that defies that rule. Take for example Breck Eisner’s take on “The Crazies,” a shockingly good genre entry that should find a loyal cult following on Blu-ray and DVD.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

How do writers Scott Kosar and Ray Wright and director Eisner avoid the remake traps? By keeping it simple. They don’t bastardize the beautiful simplicity of Romero’s concept with too much back story or detailed explanation of the chaos of Ogden Marsh. Some critics thought the new film kept it a bit too simple by losing a lot of Romero’s social and political context but the new film improves on Romero’s driving pace and that’s the clear focus of this production. We don’t need too much detail. We just want to strap in and ride the rollercoaster and “The Crazies” delivers on those terms.

The Crazies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
The Crazies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

The inciting incident of “The Crazies” goes down at a community baseball game being attended by practically the entire populace of Ogden Marsh. A local farmer wanders into right field with a shotgun and Officer David Dutton (an incredibly effective Timothy Olyphant of “Justified”) is forced to take him down with a single shot. It’s just the beginning. The next night, one of the patients of David’s doctor wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) locks his spouse and child in a closet and sets the house on fire. When the cops get there, he’s whistling a happy tune.

The Crazies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
The Crazies was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

Before anyone can catch their breath, the military descends on Ogden Marsh and begins an intense containment protocol, one that cuts the entire town off with no forms of communication or transportation. David and Judy are separated along with the rest of the town into the well and the sick (of which they think Judy belongs due to a raised temperature from her being pregnant). Before long, David and Judy have reunited and must band together with David’s deputy (Joe Anderson) and Judy’s co-worker (Danielle Panabaker) against both their neighbors and the military.

There’s a definite lack of character detail or background in “The Crazies” but Olyphant, Mitchell, Anderson, and Panabaker are talented enough to make their characters worth caring about without it. And Eisner stages a few remarkable and memorable set-pieces including a great piece in a car wash and an amazing sequence involving a school and a pitchfork.

The Blu-ray of “The Crazies” sells itself on not the political context of a story that was originally about a world in which our greatest fear should have arguably been of our neighbor but on the mood, atmosphere, and pace of the remake. Words like “Terrifying,” “Suspenseful,” “Fear,” and “Scare the Crap Out of You” on the Blu-ray case promise something that most horror movies don’t deliver, especially remakes. “The Crazies” isn’t most horror movies.

As for special features, they’re somewhat repetitive but the Romero tribute that tries to capture the impact and influence of one of the most important directors in the history of horror is a great one for young viewers who might not be familiar with the man who revolutionized the genre. Overall, it’s a diverse and impressive collection of bonus material for one of the more purely enjoyable horror films of 2010.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary with Director Breck Eisner
o Behind the Scenes with Director Breck Eisner
o Paranormal Pandemics
o The George A. Romero Template
o Make-Up Mastermind: Rob Hall in Action
o “The Crazies” Motion Comic
o Visual Effects in Motion
o Storyboards: Building a Scene
o Digital Copy

‘The Crazies’ stars Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, and Danielle Panabaker. It was written by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright and directed by Breck Eisner. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 29th, 2010. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

This BluRay version seems to

This BluRay version seems to be a good thing for the future generations because the movie will be kept in best conditions at a high resolution and with all the important info with it, on the same disk.

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