The Crazies is yet another example of one of those movies I would have loved to have loved, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It has all the makings of a good horror movie, but it wallows in its self-important political message.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m political. I was even just about write “I watched all of the West Wing” but I realized that might distract my point. Regardless, I’m not one of those “Well, it doesn’t affect me” type youths. In fact, I love political messages in movies, even if I don’t personally agree with them. The thing is, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. The Crazies just doesn’t feel like it has its heart in its meaning. I mean, i’s never easy to remake a Romero flick, but throw in Romero’s political savvy and his conviction and he’s an out of this world filmmaker. Okay, maybe he’s going through a rough patch with Survival of the Dead but even his rank movies now can’t undo the political courage of his films of the 60s and 70s.
But this isn’t about Romero’s classic. God, how I wish it was, but it’s not. This is about yet another remake that doesn’t serve any real purpose. But see, that’s where I get confused. The movie takes an early anti-government stance by illustrating the callousness and procedural violence that the government is willing to take against everyday Americans. In a way, it works. The violence itself is chilling in its depiction. However, the fervor and passion stirred up with this scenes is allowed to remain dormant for too long while we get to know our characters a little better. Olyphant and Mitchell are enjoyable to watch and provides interesting characters, but throw Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker into the picture? It becomes pretty clear early on that they only serve as adding to the body count, but nevertheless, they still get their moments to shine.
Honestly, it’s nothing against their characters, just the way that the movie is executed. There are some great chilling moments (unfortunately, a few too many of them have been given away in trailers) but nothing too overwhelming. IN most parts of it, it’s too dull or timid to be considered entertainment and in others it’s too political to be seen as just entertainment. The issue is, well, the question of “what is the issue?” is the real problem. Is it an anti-government film? Is it a rally against the traditional values of small-town America? It never seems too sure. I firmly believe in its questioning of the U.S. government and their capabilities, but its execution is too distracted to be considered poignant. The film straddles having a real point and its desire to be entertainment, something that few directors besides Romero have been able to accomplish. If looking for scares? Look somewhere else, this movie is kind of lacking. If you’re looking for a standard anti-government “who are the real monsters here?” morality tale? This could be your cup of tea, but don’t mind me while I look for something a little stronger.