Posted on 9/28/06 06:55 AM
I watched George Romero's The Crazies with my boyfriend a few days ago. Like -I suspect- most people, all I'd ever seen from Romero was zombie movies (which, admittedly, I'm a big fan of).
I didn't really know anything about the movie before I started watching it, so for once I didn't have any expectations, aside from the fact that it was supposed to be a horror movie.
The movie follows a young couple, David and Judy, as they try to escape their town, quarantined after the "Trixie" virus, a biological weapon that turns ordinary townspeople into murderous maniacs, was accidentally released. Along with their friend Clank and an old man and his daughter, they have to try to avoid the military, fight for survival, and hope not to catch the virus.
One good thing I have to say about this movie is that I liked the main characters from the moment they appeared on the screen, and actually cared about them and their survival. They're very human, very attaching, and I was very surprised by the quality of the acting - I generally expect any movie made before 1975 to be acted kind of poorly (to my taste, anyway), but most actors in The Crazies deliver a great performance.
That contributed to setting an awesome atmosphere of mild paranoia and constat anxiousness. Like in John Carpenter's The Thing where you end up believing everybody's the thing, The Crazies makes you constantly worry that your favorite character might have caught the virus - aren't they acting a little strange? Would a normal person be smiling at that moment? Aren't they all acting strange, now that you think about it?
You find yourself watching the every move of the characters, waiting for them to betray or innocent themselves every time they open their mouth, and I think that's the mark of a good movie.
Unfortunately, there are also downsides to this movie.
To start with, it gets really long at times. I realize that the whole situation should be explained to us poor viewers, but the neverending talk scenes between scientists and military people had me nearly give up on the movie a couple of times.
Aside from that, and despite the very good acting, it still is extremely obvious that The Crazies was made in the 1970s, and as much as I don't have anything against the seventies, it makes it kind of hard to take the movie seriously sometimes.
It's one of those movies that I would love to see being remade, because the idea is great, and it's an awesome movie for its time, but as well executed as it is, it just didn't age too well.
If you're considering watching The Crazies, though, don't let that discourage you. It's a fun, well made, chilling movie. I definitely don't regret watching it, and I don't think you would, either.