Slowly but surely, I’m finding myself becoming more pleasantly acquainted with horror.
I stuck The Crazies on the other night when I thought I was too tired to finish a whole film, and figuring I probably wouldn’t like it, it wouldn’t matter if I fell asleep at various points throughout.
I can report that I was surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed the 2010 remake of George Romero’s 1972 horror. The tale of a small town afflicted by a man-made virus after it leaks into the water supply was actually very thrilling, and I ended up having no problem staying awake for the duration.
Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell head up the cast here as a husband and wife at the heart of the community the film focuses on. I quite liked their characters and the performances they gave us as they played them, although if I’m honest there was nothing overly spectacular about either of them. Olyphant is your typical small town sheriff as David Dutton. There was a real air of bravery around him and you got a very real sense that he would sacrifice himself for the good of the town if needs be. Mitchell as his wife Judy was pretty decent too. It was a bit annoying that she did a fair bit of screaming throughout the film, but as far as many of the women I’ve seen in horror go she wasn’t all that bad. At least she had sense enough to arm herself before hiding and so forth.
This is actually where many of the strengths of this film lay for me. The characters were not morons. Neither were the supporting characters, I might add. Characters with a few brain cells to rub together is probably the main thing that the horror films that I’ve enjoyed of late have in common. I was able to care about these people without feeling like it was being hopelessly squandered. To be able to have faith in something is a wonderful thing, but to be able to have faith in horror protagonists is even better.
Something else that lifted The Crazies for me was the lengthy and highly intense scenes that occurred on a few occasions throughout the film. The first one that comes memory involves a bone saw. The way it was filmed had me feeling personally attacked. The majority of it was shot from David’s point of view, which meant you got to experience it all first hand. I was squirming around in my seat, trying to dodge blows that were clearly never going to hit me. I liked that the film managed to achieve this, as so often I don’t feel horror films are invasive enough. The fact that it also managed to do it consistently too is also a plus point, and was absolutely one of the things that kept me watching.
So there you have it – yet another horror film that I’ve taken a liking to of late. At this rate, I’ll have done a complete U-turn on the genre by the end of the month and will be praying that Halloween becomes a year-long event. This one just floated my boat. Was it fairly simplistic? Yes, but it did everything it needed to in order for me to really get into the spirit of things. I completely thrived off the very real threat that existed at various points throughout the film, and I always find it a major turn-on when the main characters aren’t brain dead too. The Crazies is by no means a perfect film – quite a few aspects are pretty average at best, but it gets away with it because it’s strengths are able to pull the rest of it up. If you find yourself at a loose end one night, give it a spin – you could certainly do worse!