Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Crazies Gave Me The Creeps

The Crazies: it’s a remake that has shown us, or me at least, that remakes can be scary and not just campy fun. Many remakes use tired old scares to make the audience jump and those remakes that nix these conventions try to get you with 3D. The Crazies has no 3D and clichés… but not many. No, I think what makes The Crazies so different is that it there is a certain disturbance to the movie; sort of as if everybody turned into a Bundy or Dahmer, hence being called crazies. There are many memorable scenes throughout the movie where we are given a look into the blank, emotionless actions of these crazies but three really stick out to me. Not only are they creepy but two of them are done so nonchalantly as if nothing was wrong.

One of the big reasons why I love this movie is because of the set pieces; they are so generic and reflect the Norman Rockwell age of small towns, the innocents, the playful nature of kids and warmth of a good education. That’s why I think it’s especially creepy that, situated in a classroom, government spies have gurnies of sick people tied and restrained. What made matters more creepy was when an infected scientist comes in, dragging a pitchfork, and begins using it to impale the restrained people. It’s so creepy and so uncomfortable because when you look at the scientist, just by his eyes, you can tell there isn’t any emotion or regard for life. It’s such a random act of homicide that it typifies what being ‘crazy’ is all about. I guess it’s also because the film doesn’t hold any boundaries back when letting you hear the pitchfork going through somebody’s chest cavity. Now every time I see a classroom I’ll think of a gurney rather than a desk.

Speaking of making Norman Rockwell flip out, there is a particularly disturbing scene that takes place in a baby’s room. It’s another one of those places that are meant for something good like raising a child that has been tainted because of a government weapon. Here, a mother and her son tie up the sheriff’s wife and threaten to shoot her dead after he shot her husband. I guess what makes it creepy is that it’s a mother and son pair, and the way the son looks at his mother makes it seem like he is under her control and is willing to do what she says. That twisted sense of obedience made me shiver every time I watch this. The mother kept alluding to the fact that her husband was wrongfully killed when in actuality it was because of self-defense the way her son agrees with her suggests that even if he wasn’t infected, he’d still follow her twisted revenge plan. I think it’s even more ironic that the room was meant to raise a child and yet the situation displays an example of how not to raise a child.

However, the one sequence that was scary and made me jump a few times was when the group of heroes hide in a car wash from a helicopter but unwillingly stumbled into place for dozens of crazy people to hide. I have always been freaked out by car washes because the shadows, the water and the brushes always looked like monsters trying to get in… and this sequence brought my childhood nightmare to life. The crazy people not only hide and use the brushes to their advantages but they make it so that it’s impossible to pin point them in one place, as if they were fighting gorilla style. I’ll never forget seeing one the infected people wrap a hose around one of the character’s neck, then hanging her. It was so swift and so clean that it was frightening to see the accuracy. As if they planned it.

You’ll notice there is a similarity these scenes share and it’s another reason why I love the movie. The set design not only felt like it was in a small town but it also felt like a dying town. It was stale, retro and almost ghostly. Aside from the fact that some of the creepiest moments I’ve seen in a horror movie took place there, the sets themselves were just as haunting. I’m sure as the age of remakes and sequels progresses into the new decade, the pitchfork scene will become a staple sequence in modern horror movies and for good reason. As of now it may give me the creeps but later on it will be an example of brutality at its finest. By then I will look back on it and say, “I remember when I aw that in theaters and I literally flinched my head away from the screen.”


X said...

As I've stated previously, The Crazies was my favorite horror movie of 2010. It does what it's supposed to do -- it scares you. It shows you what you can't unsee and leaves a delicious feeling of helplessness in your gut.
The set pieces are amazing, especially if you compare it to Romero's original, which dwells mostly in the filmmaking school of People in a Room Yelling at Each Other.

Adrian Thompson said...

Great review! I agree 100%. The Crazies is a fantastic flick, and the best horror movie I have seen in a long time. One of the few times I haven't been disappointed in quite a while.

HorrO said...

There were a lot of creepy scenes in it like the ones you pointed out. I liked the movie, but thought it kind of ran out of gas at the end. When they got to that service station area it took too long before the next action scene happened. Then the ending wasn't too surprising. Overall it was a good movie though.

ZedWord said...

Nah, I can't agree with you here. I found the Crazies about as boring and formulaic as anything else that's come out in the past few years. It had all the story progression of a linear video game.

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