Plot: What’s it about?
The rural town of Ogden Marsh isn’t used to a lot of attention from out of town visitors, but it is about to become the center of attention in a most horrific turn of events. As the townspeople take in a baseball game, one of the locals wanders onto the field with a shotgun in his hand. The players slowly walk off the field and Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) approaches the man, now seen to be the town drunk. Dutton tries to get him to lay down the gun, but the man remains silent and still, then suddenly raises the shotgun. This causes Dutton to fire back and protect himself, leaving the man dead. As the locals struggle to understand what happened, another man burns down his own home, with his wife and child inside. The town seems to be in the grip of some kind of unknown violent force, as more and more outbreaks arise. But has caused the town to turn so violent and will anyone be left alive to uncover the truth?
Although I dislike the recent tidal wave of remakes, not all of them are miserable failures. The Crazies is a new take on George A. Romero’s 70s chiller of the same name. As it wasn’t a high profile film, The Crazies isn’t a bad choice for a revisit, but the original was a more than competent production. This remake starts off well and shows immense promise, with intense atmosphere and a more psychological horror slant. The mysterious events that unfold keep us on edge and guessing, which is quite a feat for a horror movie these days. But soon enough, that approach breaks down and we’re taken on a roller coaster of cheap scares. Although the film fails to maintain the pace it begins at, it still offers stark, haunting visuals and effective atmosphere. I still think Romero’s original works better, but as far as Hollywood horror remakes go, this one isn’t half bad. If you’ve seen the original, the remake has some fresh elements and if you haven’t seen the original, then you should. The Crazies might not be a horror classic, but it is effective and as such, is well worth a look.
Video: How does it look?
The Crazies is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. As I said before, this film has a great visual design, so I was glad to see such a excellent transfer here. The stark visuals really come to life, with ample detail, but deep enough blacks to ensure what should be hidden is just that. The detail level is superb, with subtle visual touches visible throughout. No concerns at all with colors, which perform as intended. Not much else I can say, just a terrific visual effort.
Audio: How does it sound?
The PCM 5,1 soundtrack is good, but not always great. The more tense scenes aren’t quite as atmospheric as they could be, which is a shame. The audio is more than acceptable, but some fine tuning could have added so much more eerie tension to those sequences. The cheap scares sound good though, so you might jump a couple times thanks to those. The music sounds good and dialogue is well handled, so no concerns there either. In short, this is a good soundtrack, but it could have been better. This release also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, as well as English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to a digital copy on the second disc, we have director Breck Eisner’s audio comments, several behind the scenes featurettes, and two episodes of the motion comic based on the film. If you combine all the featurettes you’d have some good info, but none are in depth on their own.