I was once hired on by a woman who ran a writing website and it was my job to coach young or new writers into becoming better writers. The discovery that it was not easier to encourage good writing than discourage bad writing was an epiphany to say the least. The tipping point came when a man submitted a werewolf story that didn’t have a werewolf in it. Nothing I could say or do could get him to either stop calling it a werewolf story, or actually put a werewolf in the story. Moreover, he refused to change one letter of what he had written for any reason at all. I never thought I would ever hear from this person again, but that was before I saw the movie, “The Crazies”
“The Crazies” isn’t a zombie movie. It isn’t a monster movie. It isn’t an end of the world movie. It isn’t a horror movie. There isn’t a gripping love story like the one found in “Cloverfield”. There isn’t a well done plot like… okay, when we’re talking about these kinds of movies, rarely is there a well done plot, so nevermind that. But what I am trying to say here is “The Crazies” doesn't seem to have anything in the movie that would satisfy any particular brand of viewer. But instead of being one of those movies trying to have something in it for everyone it winds up having nothing for anyone. It’s the type of movie you find collecting dust at the very back of the movie rental place even when they’re going out of business and all movies are ten for a dollar.
There is as much chemistry between the characters in the story as there might be found between two people hooked up randomly via chat on the internet for five minutes at a time. Mostly, everyone seems to be on the run from the movie, which plods along at a pace that suggests there were making scenes up as they go. The first “Crazy” to get killed wanders up on a softball field and the local sheriff shoots him for bad acting. The premise here is something weird is in the water, something weird that the military accidently let loose, but the steps between a military jet crashing into a swamp, and an infected farm town aren’t connected very well at all. There is water in the swamp and there is water in the town so the swamp water is the water the people in town are drinking? And no one in the entire process of producing this movie suggested a change in this? Oh dog, what if they did and this was actually a rewrite? What did they have before this, a military jet slamming into a herd of cows and the people being infected via hamburger?
The plot doesn’t thicken at all when the army rides in and scoops everyone up and declares…you know, the viewer is never really given any clear indication what the army is doing or what they intend to do. “The Crazies” or those people infected by the whatever it is that the whatever they are infected with, seem to be zombies that want to kill people, but others of them are fully functional and want to kill people. Some of the infected seem to be untouched as far as their facial expression go, and some look as if they have just been rejected from the worst make-up job in Hollywood since that Montag woman left town.
Car wash ambush scene might have been humorous, campy, scary, or something but as a metaphor of the entire movie, it is nothing to anyone. Replete with an exploding vehicle which detonates a few feet from a small crowd of people and injuries not a soul, this is a pivotal scene, and by that I mean at this point in the film, most people just turn away.
The logical errors in the movie pile up faster than the dead bodies. Just as one character tells us if a person doesn’t have the virus in two days, he is killed by someone who up until that point was virus free for three days. This character, being one of the main characters, goes nuts slowly, and in the end, sacrifices himself so two other people can escape in plain sight. Werewolf Boy wrote this scene, I swear I can see his fingerprints all over it. Three third graders from a slum in Sewagiva who were smoking crack while falling from a tall building could have written a better escape scene than this.
“Stay right here, I’m going to look for…” In a land full of infected and demented human beings, why on earth would you leave your wife anywhere to look for anything? But this creates a dual chase scene where the two loves eventually and uneventfully reunite before getting into a semi truck to escape the blast of a nuclear weapon which for reasons that escape even Werewolf Boy, is being counted down over a walkie talkie. They survive being nuked, and walk to Cedar Rapids Iowa, who apparently slept through the mushroom cloud that just happened next door. Mercifully, the movies ends there but leaves the door open for a sequel.
I was tired and as I lay down on the sofa to veg out and this film came on a movie channel that was having a free trial offer. It was a trial, I can say that. But this was, without doubt, one of the worst movies I have ever seen, even for a movie that for all practical purposes, was a zombie movie, sort of kind of maybe. This was the Andromeda Strain without the strain. This was Night of The Living Dead, but dead. This was the Creature from The Black Lagoon without the Creature, without anyone black, and without a Lagoon. This is a movie that flat lines its way through the better part of two hours and not once shows any signs of life.