Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Crazies

Truly Great Films 
Edition #2

Director Breck Eisner hit 
a home run with a budget 
less than most film's 
catering bills

First off, I'm not a horror film fan. Just sayin'.

I have never sat around, biting my nails, waiting for the latest zombie flick to come out. And to be clear, I pay more attention to the writing and execution of a movie than I do the genre.

I'm a fan of tightly-written and well thought out movies that keep my attention through all three acts.

The Crazies does that. In spades.

I don't care if the budget is 20 million - like Crazies - or the 300 million that was spent on MIB III. If the movie is good, I'll praise it. If not, as is the case with MIB III, well...all bets are off.

You handsome man, you

Let's move on....

Casting Timothy Olyphant was one of the best decisions the producers made, followed closely by Joe Anderson, pictured below. 

Olyphant plays small town sheriff David Dutten, and Anderson plays his deputy, Russell Clank. 

These two actors have a genuine connection, portraying two men that have grown up together in a hick town. 

I am a monster fan of Olyphant, having dis-covered him in the ridiculous but enjoyable Live Free Or Die Hard.

From there I discovered his part in Deadwood, and from there I had an official man-crush. It is unfortunate that he will play an upcoming part in my Film Cemetery review of I Am Number Four.

Anderson seems to have come from nowhere, but I'm sure he has a fine career ahead of him. 

Radha Mitchell plays Judy Dutten, the sheriff's wife and local doctor. Mitchell isn't a big name, but I liked her in Man On Fire, and is also a good casting choice.

I don't usually give a detailed description of the plot, because anyone can Google a movie these days. Suffice to say a mysterious infection in the tiny town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa begins to make the locals murderous. 

Olyphant and his wife are separated by the quarantine team, and he rescues her, along with his trusty deputy. The three try to survive as they trek across the back roads of Iowa, seeking a safe haven.

Okay, you know the basic plot and players, and you surely realize that this is a zombie horror flick, and it was marketed as such. The Crazies has a very good approval rating, which is rare in horror - and doubled its budget....which is okay but not outstanding.

What sets his film apart for me are two factors.

Firstly, the tension is handled extremely well. The director turns the heat up on our hero, Olyphant, by having everything go wrong that can possibly go wrong. That includes having his best buddy and deputy turn on him.

And I don't think I have ever squirmed in my seat as much as I did when Mitchell is strapped to a gurney, alone in a quarantine hospital, unable to defend herself from the zombies.

The second factor is the most important, I think. 

Everything that happens after the quarantine hospital falls apart feels very, very real, and very, very scary after the trio realize that government has no intention of helping them. They are on their own.. 

Seriously, what would you do in a zombie invasion? 

Olyphant wants to protect his wife the only way he knows getting the hell out of Dodge. No humor, no heroics, just fucking go, man. 

It's what I would have done.

The truck stop scene is awesome, and the ending is rather sad, but I don't want to give too much away if you are reading this but haven't seen The Crazies yet. 

It is only two years old, but I wanted to do things a little differently. I'm kinda tired of reviews that are overbearing and pompous, without telling me whether or not the movie is any damn good.

This flick is good by any standards, horror or otherwise. 

What are you waiting for? Go rent it now.

You still here? I said go.

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