I have never seen the original version of "The Crazies". I love George A. Romeros "Dead" films (certainly the first three) but I just haven't ever made the effort to see it.
Now that that's out of the way let's get down to the business at hand.
This film was dreadful.
I can't tell if it was a pointless remake or a faithful remake but what I do know is that as a stand alone piece it was mind numbingly dull.
I once worked beside a chap who was completely boring. He finished every sentence with the phrase "yeaaaah?" regardless of whether he was actually asking a question and seemed totally oblivious to the fact that every time he started to speak people started looking for other, more interesting things to do, like counting the checks on gingham shirts or thinking about the great speeches of Gordon Browns Premiership.
I didn't think I would ever be as bored as I was in his company.
"The Crazies" trumped him. That's no mean feat considering that, unlike my former colleague, this film enjoyed a big budget, lots of special effects, explosions and buckets of fake blood. I cannot remember another horror film that was so laboured and so devoid of shocks. At times I had to check the people around me for vital signs to ensure that they hadn't slipped into comas.
Worse than being boring (not the Pet Shop Boys song...that's brilliant) was the fact that the director, Breck Eisner, insisted on battering the audience around the head with his far from subtle commentary on American foreign policy. No doubt he thought that this was terribly clever and incredibly worthy. It wasn't. It was irritating.
Let me explain; "The Crazies" concerns a small town in Iowa that falls foul to a virus that makes the inhabitants do awful things. The source of this virus is a weapons grade chemical that has entered the towns water supply after a US air force 'plane crash lands in a nearby lake. The military then arrive to wipe out the town and everyone who lives there while a hardy band of survivors, including the sheriff and his pregnant wife, try to make it out. By the end only the sheriff and his wife have made it to the next big city at which point we learn that the military has been tracking them and the whole process must start again.
Now lets take Iraq as an example of American foreign policy...America puts Hussain in place, supports him and then wipes him out before moving on to the next place where a previous "good guy" must be destroyed. That appears to be Eisners view of things. He may be right. He may be wrong. What I do know is that being bludgeoned with his view of things over the course of "The Crazies" left me with an almost uncontrollable desire to find Eisner and do something crazy to him.
Do you see what I did there? That's about as subtle as this film was.