Me a bad Romero fan. *Hangs head in shame.* Never saw The Crazies from 1973 and actually didn't know about that movie until talks of the remake came out. Slap my hand all you want, but you can't expect me to know everything! Now that that's out of the way, I can comment on said remake.
I didn't hate it. A backhanded compliment, I know. But only because there are some elements here that I am sort of sick of seeing in movies in general.
Now, I was expecting something along the lines of "small town folks go crazy and kill each other and a small group of people fight them off and survive." And I'm not sure I wanted to see that. It sounds kind of boring. Instead, we get a weird sickness turning people into "crazies" and the military who caused the problem showing up and killing everybody.
You know what? I actually want there to be some weird viral outbreak that only affects a small population, because I want to see what the government would ACTUALLY do. In movies like The Crazies and Dreamcatcher, for instance, we see the military swooping in and hauling off the sick people kicking and screaming to plastic tents so doctors in space suits can strap them down and do weird shit to them. And people that try to go after their loved ones are mercilessly shot down by soldiers. No one knows what's going on, which makes everybody do crazy things and get shot down by soldiers. I actually have enough faith in the government and the men and women that make it up to believe that this shit would NOT happen.
On the flip side, it was nice to see in a movie that when something epidemic happens, that someone actually does show up to help. Even if it is to herd everyone into their quickly erected military compound and make the problem worse by not telling anybody what is going on. That happened in Dreamcatcher, too, and The Stand. I'm just saying, military, obviously that plan doesn't work out so well. Maybe time to go back to the drawing board.
One problem I had with this movie was too many f-ing deus ex machinas. Every time it looked we were going to get a really cool kill or have one of our main characters at least slightly wounded (as anybody in this situation would probably be), the attacking crazies are shot dead at just the right moment. So I have a bloodlust - I'm a horror fan, get over it.
Scenes that definitely stood out include:
1) THE TOTALLY AWESOME BONE SAW FIGHT. I don't know about y'all, but those bone saw machines have always freaked me out. Just the sound and the fact that they are BONE SAWS, by definition their only purpose is CUT THROUGH YOUR BONES, makes them very scary little instruments. And I know I'm not a dude, but I wouldn't want a wayward bone saw to come after my crotch, either.
2) The car wash fight. This was kind of a lame fight, but it stood out because it was so funny. I mean, I knew the crazies were outside the car and the people in the car knew they were there too, but all we can see them being scared at are the car washing mechanisms. For a good part of the beginning of the fight, I could barely see the shadows, so the people inside the car are all screaming and scared, and it looks to me like they're just scared of those spinny things that wash the side of the car or really scary soap being sprayed onto their windows, oh my! Even when the crazies attacked, they were disposed of a little too easily, so again, lame fight but it stands out because it was so funny.
I mused at the hunters who couldn't hunt animals in normal life hunting humans after they caught the crazy virus. It was a nice touch and gave our heroes a more menacing threat to deal with than the pansy military dudes who run away at the first sign of a breach. The scene at the truck stop was genius, because after that initial scene of the main characters hiding from the hunters behind the truck, the audience has totally forgotten about them. Then when they get to the truck stop, which is supposed to be their safe haven, we find out that the hunters have already been here and are probably going to come back - and probably at a time when our main characters are separated from each other, alone and vulnerable. "It's okay, my pregnant wife, I'll go inside to look for keys to the truck while you stay out here alone with the murdering psychos who could be at every corner." Great idea! It makes for a great suspenseful scene, however, especially when Judy has to hide in the freezer of dead bodies.
All in all, a pretty good movie but nothing to go "crazy" over. *Waits for laugh...*