Let's imagine for a moment that we don't have these artifacts, the easy reminders of what a film was. We only have access to a few items; the original screenplay, a poster or two, a cast list. Look at these items and use them to jar your memory of what the film was like, how it played out, what it looked and sounded like. Now, imagine you have to recreate the film with just your impressions of the film and these few facts. Remember, memory is notoriously subjective and impressionistic.
Then, you make a movie like The Crazies (2010), which is, unknown by many, a remake of George Romero's The Crazies (1973). The third film he directed after Night of the Living Dead was a not completely successful return to the same territory of murderous horde. The original spends too much time trying to be science fiction, like Andromeda Strain(1971), and not enough time with the murderous horde. The film gets trapped in the mistake that many similar films in the 1950's made; assuming we want to listen to fake scientists prattle on about something that is supposed to frighten us, when all it really does is kill all momentum. But it saves money, too, as its easier to stand there and talk about how crazy the water is making everybody then it is to show it.
The remake wisely avoids this angle. The film is solidly loyal to the people of the town and a point of view which keeps the military and science as far away as possible. By following the unlikely band of David (Timothy Olyphant) and Judy Dutten (, and Russel Clank (
As far as remakes go, the new Crazies is far superior. The story is more immediate, more effective and the production certainly benefits from a larger budget. There is a visual style to this film, and while it borrows a bit too much from other recent zombie films (The Dawn of the Dead remake, for one), it does create a mood, one the original lacked, for this oppressive story. You could say the first film teetered too heavily on the brainy side, and now this version teetered too far over into the brainless side. This isn't a smart film, or even a very good one, but it gets more things right than the first pass. However, as interesting as it is to focus on the regular folks in crisis, it also does so in a way that is overdone and predictable. Which is unfortunate, because as we all know, the worst part of a memory is when you realize you had it all wrong.
NEXT: Mnemonic: Clash of the Titans