REVIEW: 'The Crazies' Disappoints With Cheap Scares

There is a scene in the movie “The Crazies” where a couple of men investigate to see if there was a plane crash in the area. Instead of going for easy thrills (i.e. people popping out of dark places to frighten the characters), the scene builds up drama and then ends with a creepy camera shot. Unfortunately, unlike this particular scene, the movie often relies on quick and easy scares rather than building up tension and intelligent thrills.

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“The Crazies” revolves around a small community where a virus takes over the population. One of the first scenes in the movie shows a tranquil baseball game with the sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) in attendance. Out in the distance, a man walks onto the baseball field carrying a gun. A confrontation ensues between the sheriff and this seemingly drunk man and soon thereafter other people in town start acting strange. As more people begin acting out of character, the sheriff investigates what caused this change in behavior and why people are acting like zombies.

For its scares, the movie often relies on “the crazies” popping out of places and scaring people. Wherever the characters go, there always seems to be someone hiding in a bedroom, in a kitchen and even (in a creative sequence) in a car wash. Unfortunately, this is part of the film’s problem. Instead of relying on interesting and original sequences, the plot just moves the characters from one setting to another where zombies appear from nowhere. (One wonders how long crazies stand in one place silently waiting for the lead characters to show up so that they can jump out and surprise them. Do crazies pay board games while they wait for potential victims?)

In addition, there are also major plot holes. John Nolte pointed some of them out his review, but there are others. For example, at one point a couple realizes the person they’re with has been infected. Nonetheless, they decide to keep walking with him knowing that at any moment he could go crazy and kill them. After the duress of being attacked by multiple “crazies” in the past few hours and days, the audience is asked to believe this couple will keep going with a known “crazy.”

Admittedly, there are some solid aspects of the film. There are a number of genuinely creepy scenes, like the one involving the search for the plane. There are also some imaginative moments but not enough to compensate for a disappointing plot and other flaws. There are zombie movies out there that are much better than this tired one.

As compared to the rest, the beginning of “The Crazies” had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the movie quickly squanders that. Some may say that this new film is crazy scary. I would just describe it as disappointing.

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