24 February 2010

The Crazies


So last night my friend Jennie (of word of the day fame) and I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of "The Crazies" brought to us by Texas Frightmare Weekend . We were super stoked, as you can imagine with us being HUGE horror fans. I got there plenty early to secure good seats and boy, did we have them. Right off the bat, something was off. I've been to my fair share of screeners and never have the producers of the event failed to welcome us, promote whatever they're selling. Sometimes, there are even give aways. None of that happened. One minute we're sitting and chit chatting, the next the lights dim and on with the show. Oh well.

Within 90 seconds of the film starting, it abruptly stopped. This should have been my first indication ( I believe in signs, and this was a big one). So, we sat around the theatre waiting for someone to tell us what was going on. They never did. Eventually the movie started back up and away we went.

This is another remake of a movie many of us were too young to remember and wasn't that great in first place. Starring Timothy Olyphant (LOVE! as the fearless leader/county sheriff), Rahda Mitchell (as his pregnant (?) wife and doctor), we learn pretty quickly that things are starting to go wrong in the town of Odgen Marsh, Iowa. Within 24 hours everyone has gone crazy (hence the title) and the government must intercede in the most obtuse way (as they must in every horror movie). It's hard to put aside the stupidity that follows.

My biggest problem with horror films is writing. If you're going to include soldiers and cops in your movie, maybe it would help to talk to one first. Maybe they could read the script and give you notes. You know, so the characters can act in a reasonably truthful way. Just because this is horror, doesn't mean you can make up anything you want to. Why would you give a decoy the Glock and keep the revolver? Personally, I want as many bullets as possible, especially if I don't think my friend is coming back. If you don't have a great and clever writer, perhaps you should cut some of the dialog. Case in point: At a baseball game. "That kid throws fast". "Just like he drives". Really? At another point in the movie, our hero's are trying to escape when a helicopter roars over head. "Do you think they saw us?" Uh, yea! They're in a helicopter, we can assume they're not blind. You're in a car on a deserted road. Do the math!

Second biggest problem with the movie- camera angles. They were rudimentary and juvenile at best. What was worse is you could tell the DP had some skill, or maybe he just lucked into some great shots (what's up turbine!). The whole movie is told in medium twofer's that only serve to alienate the audience, not bring them into the thick of the action. For an example of good camera work in medium to close-up see "The Hurt Locker". Also, many frames where out of focus and I can only assume it was poor focus on the part of the DP and assistants. This is not counting the blurry gore. I would rather you not show the gore than to blur the image. I can't see that! More importantly, it's hurting my eyes. It's all or nothing people!

Other things that made me laugh in a bad way- the prerequisites: hillbilly with a Mohawk (PS- he's in his 50's), the crazies all sing old folk tunes (of course), and the lead characters can't just go crazy like everyone else; no they always stay more "sane". This thing has a 24 hour incubation period and you're still cognizant after a couple days? NO!!

I will say there was one thing that I enjoyed, and that was Joe Anderson as the Deputy Sheriff (of "Across the Universe" and "The Ruins" fame). I just love him! He also gets the best lines and acts the most believably. The other actor's seemed forced or sad they had to be there (I'm looking at you Olyphant).

In closing, "The Crazies" is not worth you $10 theatre ticket price. I suggest waiting for Netflix and enjoying it with a group of friends. I certainly enjoyed the talkative group of theatre goers and critics I was sitting next to!