More than three decades after Romero released The Crazies, Hollywood renovated and repackaged it for today’s horror generation. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel with the title, The Crazies was released in 2010 and is pretty much the exact same story. A small town is ravaged by a virus after a government plane carrying biological weapons crashes and leaks into the water system. As the powers-that-be struggle to “contain” the situation, the local sheriff and his wife, along with a couple of others, attempt to escape the town. I didn’t hate the original The Crazies, but I thought it struggled in the horror department. The story was there, but the gore and scares weren’t. This remake fixes pretty much all of my issues and manages to preserve the integrity of Romero’s creation, a feat few - if any - remakes do.
My favorite aspect of the original film was it literally dropped you right into the story. There was no beginning build-up, but rather an immediate rush of plot and paranoia. Romero did this with Night of the Living Dead and others, so it was nice to see the remake do the same. From the very beginning, shit is going down. Minor plot details are changed in this new tale, but the idea is still there. The government’s role in this film was a bit different at times, but the overall political message remained the same. This version didn’t shove it down your throat quite as much as Romero’s did, but you still got the point. The acting is fantastic; Timothy Olyphant is more than convincing as the hero.
The reason I thought this remake improved upon the original was because of its increased suspense, fear and gore. The graphics were great and there were many more memorable death sequences. This version is genuinely scary, unlike the first. In the original, the crazies were basically delirious and giddy. Here, the crazies are the kind of pure, evil mad that leads to murder and mayhem. It made them much more villainous, which in turn made everything more scary.
While it may not be quite the political horror Romero released, the 2010 version of TheCrazies is a fantastic remake. I don’t often give credit to the remakes, and I pretty much never say it was better than the original, but this is the exception. The Crazies takes everything great from Romero’s film and adds in a big dose of scare and gore. The result is a horror that is entertaining, politically charged and frightening. Horror island should be pretty afraid of that combination.
If you liked The Crazies (2010), you might also like The Crazies, 28 Days Later and Cabin Fever.