George Romero's The Crazies is almost the perfect film to remake. Its a film with a good concept but bad execution, and combine that with the Romero remaking brand, in which every thing notable he ever made has been remade at least once. With the glaring exception of Martin, which I'd submit high in the list of the most under-rated films of all time.
But to business. I had higher hopes for the Crazies then one usually does for conveyor belt horror remakes. Its trailer promised something a bit darker and a bit more interesting, and knowing the source material I thought there could be an alright movie here. Well, this one's on me I suppose, because the Crazies is basically what every cynic incapable of the will to dream thought it would be. Generic and disposable. Not awful, but almost depressingly forgettable. And this is almost more frustrating then if it had full sucked, because then it would at least have an identity. But here it's all a copy of a copy of a copy. For example, this movie pretty much holds Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead as it near biblical framework. We even begin with Johnny Cash again, just like that film did.
Once Cash is done singing a pretty poor cover of the song at the end of Dr Strangelove, the movie begins, with an ounce of promise. Sure the characters are all hastily assembled from archetypes 101. You've got the dogged cop ( Timothy Olyphant), the girl doctor ( Radha Mitchell), the teen (Danielle Panabaker) etc. But the insanity as a virus thing works better when the characters were human, and the scene where a husband locks his family in a closet and whistled 'Old McDonald' while they burn alive, was bluntly effective. But around a half hour in director Breck Eisner can't resist the Snyder effect and just turns the film into another zombie movie, and to be honest not a particularly good one. From then on I had checked out of the thing, watching with an angered disappointment as Olyphant and Mitchell went through a few stock survival horror scenes and then we're done. I like both these actors, but they were unable to make either of their thin characters land. Only Brit Joe Anderson, excellent in Ian Curtis biopic Control, does anything of note, playing his increasingly unhinged deputy with a menacing glee.
Objectively it seems ridiculous to be disappointed be a remake of a mediocre 70's horror movie, but I am nonetheless. The idea offered something better then this.