The Crazies ★★★★

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Don't ask me why I can't leave without my wife and I won't ask you why you can.
-David Dutton

I probably rank this a lot higher than most people and count this among the rare truly great horror remakes. Simply put this movie is a lot smarter than people give it credit for. It also has the advantage of being a remake of a film that is incredibly rough around the edges, even if it was made by a horror maestro.

In George A. Romero's original film, it's main theme was not being able to trust the government while showing you both sides, the civilians in peril and the government officials (and Army officials) dealing with the crisis. What screenwriters Scott Kosar and Ray Wright do is take that same theme but tackle it from a different angle which is what I think most great remakes do. The theme of not being able to trust the government is very much there, but instead of showing their side of the story they change them into a faceless entity from the people looking at satellite imagery to the SUVs with tainted windows and soldiers all wearing gas masks and hazmat suits.

There's actually only two occasions (that I recall) were you see the faces of any authority figures and those scenes are used for a purpose. First when they unmask a soldier just to have all their anger and rage completely deflate when it's revealed that he's just a young man scared out of his mind. He doesn't want to be there, has little more information then the civilians and is just a cog in the machine following orders. Before that moment he was something to fear and hate, like maybe how some people feel about US soldiers invading certain countries, but when you can put a name and a face to one of them everything suddenly changes.

The second face we see is later on in the movie and shows how they react when they finally have a face of authority to put blame on what's been happening to them. They have sympathy for the young soldier as he's just being used, but when they finally find an older face, someone that looks like he might be in charge of something, it's hard to keep the rage in.

This is also a nice change of pace from your typical zombie movie as I wouldn't even call this one (although some do). It's people just going completely mad and killing each other. Instead of a mindless zombie coming after you, you get crazy people picking up weapons to torture and kill you.

It's biggest asset though is simply this; you have Timothy Olyphant in a horror movie. The only thing that would make that even cooler is if he was playing Raylan Givens from Justified in a horror movie.

Final Note: Incredibly disappointed that Paramount Pictures pulled the plug on the latest Friday the 13th movie that was supposed to be directed by Breck Eisner from a script written by Aaron Guzikowski. I was really looking forward to that movie on the strength of what he did with The Crazies alone.

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