Movie Review: The Crazies (2010)

Howdy there, more Month of Spooks content comin’ your way right now! So what’s on the menu tonight? A remake of an older flick? Alrighty then!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Crazies”.

Ogden Marsh is a quaint little township in Iowa, a place where EVERYBODY KNOWS YORU NAAAAAME… sorry. But yeah, it’s a nice place. That however changes soon when a mysterious virus starts spreading throughout, infecting the people living there, turning them into vicious killers. And we follow the town’s Sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) as he tries to survive with his wife (Radha Mitchell) and a few other people. “The Crazies” is a tale of survival and not losing your humanity and insert other mid-apocalypse buzzwords. And by that mildly snarky line you can probably figure out my thoughts on the narrative of this movie. It’s fine. I never found myself bored by it, I was interested in seeing where it would go. But in the end I will forget this experience sooner than I really want to. It’s a decent survival thriller that never truly makes me feel engaged. It’s more a passive acceptance of its dry and self-serious narrative.

The characters in this are whatever, serving the story just fine. First up we have Timothy Olyphant (fuck yeah) as David, the Sheriff of Ogden Marsh. He knows to be tough when needed, but is generally a kind dude for the most part. He’s probably the most interesting character here, as we follow him and his perspective on this whole ordeal. And Olyphant is great in the role… as he always is. I just think he’s kinda neat, ‘kay? Next we have Radha Mitchell who plays Judy, David’s wife. I like Radha Mitchell, I think she’s a good actress. And I guess she does the best she can with this material, even though she doesn’t get much of a nuanced character. She can basically best be relegated to “wife” in this. We also get supporting work from people like Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson, Brett Rickaby, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Isham, and I think he did an alright job with it. Some tracks are basic loud horror noises and some are basic mellow drama stuff. The music does its job just fine in conveying certain emotions, even if they don’t always translate to emotional reactions from me.

Based on the 1973 George Romero movie of the same name, “The Crazies” was directed by Breck Eisner who I think did a good job here. He knows how to create some decent intensity in certain scenes. While the story felt fairly unmemorable, some of the creatively macabre scenes that Eisner shot will stick with me a bit more. This goes for Maxime Alexandre’s cinematography, which I think is great.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on it has a score of 6.5/10.

While I don’t think “The Crazies” is one of the horrors I’ve ever watched, it’s certainly an alright way to spend a slow evening. It has an average story, okay characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for the remake of “The Crazies” is a 6.31/10. So while quite flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Crazies” is now completed.

No, you’re the one with a man crush on Timothy Olyphant… He said, speaking to his reflection.

Movie Review: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

During last year’s Month of Spooks, I reviewed “Night of the Living Dead”. Now in 2019, we’re moving on to its legendary pseudo-sequel. To be honest, I didn’t even plan this sequelization, it just happened. SERENDIPITY, HO!

Brainies and gentleflesh… “Dawn of the Dead”.

The world has gone to shit. Zombies are rapidly taking over everywhere. And in all this chaos we follow a small group of survivors as they seek shelter inside of a shopping mall. It’s a solid enough premise for a zombo flick, and the overall execution of it is damn good too. It works because it’s not only about some people trying to survive, but also because there’s a healthy dose of social satire strewn throughout the movie, giving the movie a bit of an edge over most zombie movies out there. Now, while I praise it for going in a unique direction with its story (for the time), I do have some issues with it, mainly in regards to pacing. It takes a bit for the main part of the plot to get going, and there are then moments throughout where the pacing drags ever so slightly. But for the most part, the plot here moves at a good pace and is overall a well written, fun, and surprisingly nuanced take on the zombie sub-genre.

If you asked me what the characters’ names were, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I can see the characters and recognize them, but I have no real clue about who they are beyond “Oh yeah, you’re a guy in this”. Despite this, I found them quite interesting as subjects of this satirical zombo story. The way they interact and handle various situations is quite interesting. And the performances are all quite solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Dario Argento, along with Italian rock group Goblin. And it’s an interesting score. At times big, at times a bit more somber, it is an unusually unpredictable score that overall just really fit the movie well. It often adds to the enjoyment of the various scenes.

Just like with its predecessor, “Dawn of the Dead” was written and directed by George A. Romero, who I think did a solid job with it. You can tell that he’s gained a bit more confidence as a director between movies, as he very cleverly creates a unique mood with his direction, a mood that is often uneasy, but still enjoyable.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on it has a score of 7,9/10.

While I don’t necessarily adore it as much as some people, I still think “Dawn of the Dead” is a damn fine movie. It has a really good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, good music, and really good writing/directing. Though as mentioned earlier, it is brought down a bit by some mild pacing issues. Time for my final score. *Braaaaains*. My final score for “Dawn of the Dead” is an 8,78/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Dawn of the Dead” is now completed.


Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hello and welcome to another Month of Spooks review. So what’s on the menu today? Zombies? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Night of the Living Dead”.

The story follows a group of strangers as they barricade themselves inside of a farmhouse. Why are they doing this? Because the dead have risen from their graves and have come to feast on the flesh of the living. So now we have our survival plot. And it’s pretty good. This is the grandfather of zombie stories, and everything you recognize in a lot of current zombie stuff was born here. Sure, there were movies featuring the creates before “Night of the Living Dead”, but this is what set up most of what we know zombie stuff to be. From “Braindead” to “Resident Evil” to “The Walking Dead”, we have this story to thank for every zombie thing in our modern times. But aside from that, is this a well executed version of that? Yeah. The stories and developments that happen inside of the house when the survivors are doing anything to stay alive (and not lash out at each other), that stuff it utterly compelling thanks to some solid writing. But when we go back to the living dead it just doesn’t fully hold up, it’s just not as interesting as the survivors just interacting. I’m sure that stuff was horrifying and intriguing back in the day, but for yours truly in 2018 it doesn’t quite have the same impact. But the plot isn’t bad, it’s just a mixed bag.

The characters in this are fine, not awful, not great. Duane Jones (R.I.P) plays Ben, one of the survivors we follow, as well as being one of the first ones we meet. He’s probably the most capable of them all, constantly on his feet and thinking a step or two ahead, making him one that I’d follow in this kind of scenario. And Jones is great in the role. And in supporting roles we have people like Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman (R.I.P), Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne (R.I.P), and Judith Ridley, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by William Loose (R.I.P), and I thought it was good. Sure, it has that sort of 50s/60s cheese with a lot of low brass and theremin-esque vocals to create that sort of cheesy horror sound… and I like it, really gives the movie an interesting and often surreal vibe.

As you all probably know, this movie was written (with the help of John Russo) and directed by George Romero (R.I.P), and he did a great job here, which is especially impressive considering this was his first movie. He builds a lot of suspense thanks to his claustrophobic camerawork inside of the farmhouse, which made me feel kind of uneasy while watching this. Good job, Mr. Romero.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/10. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a revolutionary film that I don’t love as much as some people, but still highly recommend. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the zombie aspects of this zombie story not being that interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Night of the Living Dead” is an 8,77/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Night of the Living Dead” is now completed.

No, bad zombie, no flesh for you!