Sunday, 20 October 2013

30 Days of Horror | Day 20

A Great Remake
The Crazies

As I discussed in my post for day 2 of this challenge, remakes are almost always a troublesome beast. They are very rarely warranted and often disappoint. There are only a handful of horror remakes that have been any good, and even less that have surpassed their original in any way. I recently watched George A. Romero's 1973 film The Crazies and after seeing the original I can now say that I believe the 2010 remake has gained a spot in that elite group of superior remakes.

The original film has a great concept, wherein a crashed plane that was carrying a chemical weapon infects a small town and drives many of the inhabitants into a violent frenzy, but suffers from poor direction and lacklustre execution. The film flits between a group of seemingly uninfected citizens trying to escape the quarantined town, the military and doctors who are trying to control and solve the situation, and the gas-masked soldiers that are evacuating and containing the town. This approach completely removes any chance of identification as the narrative switches location too soon and too often for the viewer to have chance to properly engage with anyone s plight.

Breck Eisner's remake amends the originals faults by focusing in on the group of citizens, led by Timothy Olyphant's sheriff, and showing the infections outbreak from their unknowing perspective. The film is a lot darker in its representation of the infected and the horrifying acts that they commit, something that was disappointingly missing from the original, bar the opening scene. The performances are also considerably better in this version which only furthers an identification and sympathy from the veiwer with the ordeal these characters are enduring.

Watching the remake first may have spoilt any enjoyment I could have gained from the original film, but I am certain that under any conditions the recent update is the better piece of filmmaking.

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