Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Crazies (2010)


When strange events begin occurring in their small town Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife Dr. Dutton (Radha Mitchell) must find a way out of town fast, as the military begins their containment procedures.

Let's be honest, the whole military containing a small town with an infectious problem is an angle that's been played way beyond count. And of course that's mostly because it's an angle with an almost limitless set of cliches to build off of. Enter 2010's The Crazies. A remake of the 1973 cult classic, one of the real catalysts in the subgenre. Now being forced to fight decades of plot lines, trying to carve out a niche for itself.

And a niche it just barely finds. Somewhere between its thrills, action, and look at the town, The Crazies finds a way to keep it just entertaining, just though provoking enough, just generic enough not to really lose. Keeping the viewer thrilled, while preventing them with a few of the basic questions, and backing it with a few good characters moments.

The Crazies gains the momentum it needs to grab the viewer by rushing into its main story arc immediately. A little bit of build up, and character expansion in between, but for the most part it knows it needs the thrills and fast. Throw in some creative camera work, and well composed shots using scene lighting, and you've got yourself a horror/thriller.

The downside obviously being the real lack of emotional connection. It's there, and the Crazies wants to make that connection, but it never really develops into something memorable. Ultimately just swaying back and forth, between action and character, until it can find a way onto the next plot development.

Yet it never sacrifices story for explanation, a trait I admire more and more. Sure there's the odd, this is whats happening moment, but it never comes to a hault in order to break everything down. The common cinematic use of treating viewers as if they all have a memory span of 5 seconds.

And by not doing that it keeps things rolling. Plot moving, characters building, and creative fights to bring it all together. Never reaching for more, The Crazies simply achieves a comfortable level of entertainment, and rides it home.

Sustaining a solid balance of mystery, thrills, and character, The Crazies manages to create a decent time out of one of the most overplayed narrative arcs. Admirable, especially these days with more pitfalls than one could imagine to fall through.

3 better thoughts:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's in my NetFlix queue - figured it would be worth one good viewing.

Simon said...

I wanted to see this in theatres, but...

I'm gonna get it on DVD, anyway.

Red said...

I had a little bit more of an emotional connection, but that could easily be due to the fact that I'm from a small town in that part of the country, and I thought they caught the overall feel of the community very well.

Overall, I was entertained, which seems to be pretty rare in horror flicks nowadays.

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