I've always been against remakes (despite enjoying a couple), so I wasn't expecting too much when I went to see THE CRAZIES, an update of one of my favorite George Romero films. While this new one does use a few horror film cliches and has the feel and set-up of a 50s monster movie, director Breck Eisner (of the 2005 desert adventure, SAHARA) has turned out a surprisingly good, creepy flick.
While this one sticks quite closely to Romero's original, the explanation of what's causing people to go nuts is more clearly explained and the suspense level in a few choice sequences are top notch. And I'm still trying to figure out why so many reviewers keep calling the title characters 'zombies.' It's quite clear these aren't flesh-eating monsters, but ordinary people who have become unstable to the point of murder. I DO feel the victims in Romero's original were scarier, being they didn't physically change appearance (the updated Crazies begin to bleed black gook from their noses and have purple veins running across their faces), yet the new ones still work.
2 great performances come from Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell, who play our town sherrif David and his family doctor-wife, Judy. We care about each of them throughout the film, especially when Judy is separated from David at a makeshift military de-contamination camp (one of the eeriest scenes in the film).
THE CRAZIES is everything 99.9% of the current trend of horror remakes isn't: exciting, well done, respectful of the original, and best of all, genuinely scary.
GREAT GEEK MOMENTS: Lynn Lowry (one of the stars of the original) appears in a cameo as a Crazy, and the military bio-weapon-gone-loose is again refered to as 'Trixie' (an alternate title for the original was CODE NAME: TRIXIE).