Thursday, July 29, 2010

"The Crazies"(2010)d/Breck Eisner

I believe I went on record somewhere saying that,if Hollywood feels the need to cram an assload of rehashed retread remakes down our throats,they should at least remake films that would benefit from an update,and I'm pretty sure I cited George A. Romero's minor classic,The Crazies,as an example.Feel free to go back and scour the archives if you wanna.Of course,I enjoy the original just fine,but an actual budget certainly wouldn't have hurt it.So when I heard that Crazies was on the upcoming remake list,I actually wasn't sickened to my stomach for once by the news.With a competent director,a good cast,some impressive effects,a solid screenplay,a reimagining could have boosted the film's stock right into classic ground.As per usual,I wasn't that enthused,but remained cautiously optimistic while avoiding the big horror sites usual advance dicksucking and carefully calculated pimping for the studio,as that sort of stuff alone can turn me off of a film.If I want to see something,all the cookie cutter trailers that give away the whole plot in two minutes for the airheads in the audience and contrived teasers in the world aren't gonna intensify that for me.When positive reviews started returning on tonight's entry,I had my faithful and trusty roommate score us a copy for screening purposes,and the wheels were set in motion.
It's not a terrible movie,which is some sort of hollow victory for remakes,but it certainly isn't good,either.Eisner does a real paint-by-the-numbers job in the director's chair,fumbling every opportunity to rise above the original away like a wet bar of soap,instead embracing mediocrity like a twenty-five dollar head queen on tenth ave and forty sixth back in 1988.Script?Pretty pungent,absolutely zero backstory on any of the characters prior to getting dosed with Trixie whatsoever,and with the time they conserved by cutting to the chase,they manage to inject very little.The titular crazies really never go all that crazy.It's almost like the films makers must be mentally retarded,and upon watching the 1973 version,only managed to pull one idea from it."Pitchfork!That'll be really scary!"Because besides that particular scene,there's not a whole helluva lot really going on.Like the mongoloids responsible for the Black Christmas remake..."Eyeball!Pretty crystal unicorn!"Unless someone can prove me wrong,that's my prognosis and I'm sticking to it.
Ah, bravo Figaro!Bravo, bravissimo!Fortunatissimo per verità!
The sheriff(Olyphant) of Ogden Marsh,Iowa,"the friendliest place on earth"(I always thought that was Honey Pot,Pa.Either way,you gotta admit,it's a great name for a town.),has got his hands full.He's got a pregnant she-doctor(Mitchell) for a wife,it's the first day of spring,and the town's inhabitants have begun to show signs of infection by the Trixie virus,a government-born biological weapon accidentally unleashed on the populace after a plane goes down in a marsh that empties into a tributary that supplies the town's water aptly named for sewer worker Ed Norton's wife.I'm kidding about the last part.A shotgun-brandishing town drunk wanders onto the local baseball diamond,only to eat sheriff-inflicted,bullet-laden death after a very mild-pazzo off.Then a local farmer takes it upon himself to lock his wife and son in a closet as he douses his digs in gasoline and burns 'em to the ground while he cuts the grass,whistling.Some bufords hunting out of season discover the bloated,gaseous remains of a parachuting soldier in the bottoms,leading the lawman and his trusty deputy(Joe Anderson)to discover the wreckage of a massive government plane submerged in their swamp.With the government's chocolate in Ogden Marsh's peanut butter,the military is swift upon the scene to quarantine the infected,relocate the healthy,and generally push decent people around like they were ninety-eight lb beach weaklings.Meanwhile,back at the corpse house,the sheriff discovers the mortician has gone perma-crackers himself,sewing the eyes and mouths shut of living folks,and attacking him with a bone saw,nearly making him a her in the process(a bit Jackie Chan-esque here,I thought).
If Radha leans this way,she's got a clear view of the Beatles leaving the plane.
While in an insolation tent,strapped to a gurney,Judy,who's been split from her husband for a mistaken pregnancy fever,awakes to a military camp overtaken by the infected loons,one of which has a propensity for skewering people strapped down to gurneys with a pitchfork.Just before he can run the incapacitated medical practitioner,or her assistant,Becca(Danielle Panabaker),who happens to be strapped down herself,a few loons down,David and Russell show up on the scene and blow him to high heaven.The four then sneak their way through the decimated,burning city towards David's old cruiser up on blocks in his garage,stopping to watch Becca's boyfriend and his mother eat military lead and get fried like city chickens with a flame thrower.Once they get the sedan roadworthy,they duck into a car wash to avoid a military chopper,and encounter a cadre of kill-crazy cunts there,with Becca eating a violent hose-lynching in the process.And then there were three,and one of those,Russell,is showing subtle early signs of infection,so in true "take one for the team" fashion,gets himself blown away by soldiers so that David and his wife can escape.The two make their way to an abandoned truck stop where they make the grisly discovery that the troops have also been wiping out the healthy townspeople in a clean sweep,and after battling with some more nutjobs,they barely escape in an eighteen wheeler before the entire town of Ogden Marsh is leveled with a nuke.They walk towards Cedar Rapids where a satellite camera picks them up,with "initiate containment protocol" flashing on the screen.The end,or the cue for a direct-to-video sequel with neither of these actors featured?I'll let you be the judge.
No,you didn't leave your barbituates on my passenger seat.Fuck off,Bruce Dern.
Eisner,ironically,has three more higher profile remakes in the works,to the tune of Escape From New York,Cronenberg's The Brood,and Flash Gordon.I can only shake my head and shrug it off as a direct result of a Hollywood board meeting of talentless cretins high on psilocybin mushrooms,saying things like..."Dude,what's a good movie?""Uhhh,that Escape one with Stuntman Mike as the eyepatch dude with the rad gun...""Totally,brah!Let's remake that fucker..."Just wait til our giallo screenplay falls into the right pair of hands.Patience.Radha we've seen earlier in genre fare such as 2007's Rogue and Silent Hill a year before.Joe Anderson some of you will remember from Carter Smith's very weird The Ruins(2008).The lovely Panabaker saw some screen action in the Friday the 13th remake.There's also one brief cameo to note.While exploring the lifeless shell of the town,a woman rides by the sheriff on a bicycle,singing.This is none other than Lynn Lowry,star of the original,I Drink Your Blood,and various other seventies classics.Pretty nice touch,I gotta say,and exactly how a cameo should be handled.Too little,too late.On the ratings scale the new Crazies merits a single wop,and a 'script for mild anti-psychotics.
Looks like Jason Statham with a glue-on porn stache and some sort of veiny braille tree situation on his grillage.


Tower Farm said...

I'm surprised you found this on "entertainingly bad". I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Though, it was a little too serious for Tower Farm, I thought it was pretty effective.


beedubelhue said...

I thought about laying two wops upon it,but that might encourage other shysters to make more and more remakes,so I refrained.I didn't mind it,but my overall feelings afterwards only made me want to throw the original in.All the pieces were in place for a really good remake,but an average one that drags in spots is what they came up with.


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