“Don’t Ask Me Why I Can’t Leave Without My Wife, And I Won’t Ask Why You Can.”

Finally, the last movie to come from Splatterfest’s leftovers . . .

This is a decent (if somewhat flawed) horror movie about your neighbors trying to kill you.

SUMMARY:

Strange things are happening in Ogden Marsh, and by strange, I mean fucked up. Regular townspeople start going very violently nuts. As Sheriff Timothy Olyphant tries to figure out what’s going on, the government swoops in to save the day. Er. Well, they swoop in to quarantine the shit out of Ogden Marsh, anyway.

NOTES:

1. The Crazies is a remake of an old George A. Romero film of the same name. I have not seen said Romero film, so I really have no way of comparing the two movies. On its own, though, I liked The Crazies. It’s a good-ish horror-action-thriller thing with some fairly creepsome scenes . . . but, like in most movies, some things work a lot better than others.

2. What works= Timothy Olyphant

Are you kidding? I always work!

Anyone who’s read this blog, you know, ever knows how . . . heh . . . crazy I am about Timothy Olyphant. I don’t suspect this role was particularly hard for him—David is pretty much Raylan Givens without all the hard edges—but Olyphant nails it, regardless. The character feels like a natural fit, and he’s got some of the best reactions to all the insanity around him. (“Everything’s fucking moving!” Heh. Priceless.)

3. On the other hand, there is Radha Mitchell . . .

. . . who actually isn’t horrible in this movie, but her character seems kind of dull and lifeless, and she has no chemistry whatsoever with Timothy Olyphant. Considering that the two actors are playing husband and wife . . . yeah, that’s bad. Mitchell’s character, Judy, isn’t aggravating and whiny, at least, but it’s sort of hard to care very much about her. Perhaps if someone had bothered to write an actual character for her, instead of, you know, a brief description: Judy, David’s Attractive, Doctor Wife.

4. Who does Timothy Olyphant actually have some on-screen chemistry with?

That would be Joe Anderson, who plays Russell. Anderson and Olyphant play off each other really well, and they’re just simply a lot more compelling to watch running around than Olyphant and Mitchell. Anderson does a good job here in the supporting and often thankless role of small town deputy. Also, his stab at an American accent? Much improved since Across the Universe.

5. I do wish that the crazies themselves had been depicted a touch more consistently than they were in the film. The audience doesn’t get much in the way of backstory, and for the most part, I liked that—it’s a good way of building tension, when we only know what the characters themselves know—but there are inconsistencies that should have been eradicated or at least explained. For instances, the crazies mostly don’t talk . . . except, you know, when they do, and they start going nuts pretty quickly . . . except, you know, when they don’t. It’s not a huge problem for me, but the change-ups between scenes does begin to smack of convenience after a while.

6. There are a number of really good disturbing scenes in this movie. The one with the woman and her kid trapped in the house by her husband? That was an effective scene. The car wash? Also pretty awesome. But easily, easily the creepiest scene in the whole movie is the one with the guy who’s got a big ass pitchfork.

Yeah. That was freaky.

7. The car wash scene is maybe halfway through the movie, maybe a little more, and it’s unfortunately after this particular scene that I think The Crazies starts to falter a little. Even with spoilers, I’m not entirely sure I could articulate exactly how this happens . . . the pace just seems to slow down a bit, feel a little sluggish. There aren’t a lot of main characters in this movie, and I feel myself wondering if having a few more people in the mix might have helped out some in the second half of the film.

8. When you’re concerned that someone in your party has been infected with Total Psychoness . . . you make them walk in front of you. For fuck’s sake.

9. It’s one thing to completely flip the semi you’re driving and walk out mostly unscathed. That’s typical Hollywood for you. You could easily walk away from that crash with a groan and maybe a minor limp. Fine. That totally never happens.

It’s quite another thing, however, when that truck rather spectacularly flips off the road, while you’ve been standing in the cab behind the driver’s seat, not strapped into shit. Fine, you don’t have to be dead with a capital D . . . even though you totally would be . . . but you’re not even unconscious? Suffering from a compound fracture? Exhibiting clear signs of a massive concussion and/or ridiculous internal bleeding?

I hate you fictional people. I hate you all.

10. Finally, I’m not going into spoilers today because, frankly, I’m too lazy to do it, but there’s something about how the government reacts to this situation that I’m not crazy about. Like I said before, I’m mostly glad that we don’t see the government’s POV on all of this, but in this one particular decision they make . . . the military’s actions don’t really make sense to me, and I feel that to pull it off, you might need to see their motivations. I know that’s kind of vague, and it’s not one of my larger problems with the movie, but it does bug me a bit. It seems kind of unnecessary.

Also, the very last shot? Lame. These kind of endings are always, always lame.

CONCLUSIONS:

Good, simple story. Solid lead. Good, creepy action scenes. There are enough small problems, though, (like plot inconsistencies and a lack of chemistry between the two romantic leads) that keep me from absolutely loving this movie.

MVP:

Timothy Olyphant

GRADE:

B

MORAL:

If you really love someone, you can’t leave them behind.

Also: don’t be the side character in anyone else’s movie. Take charge. Be the star of your own. Because if you’re the star, you can survive any car accident imaginable. God could pancake that car with his Holy Foot, and you’d hop out fine with a small wince and maybe an aesthetically placed cut on your forehead.

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6 Responses to “Don’t Ask Me Why I Can’t Leave Without My Wife, And I Won’t Ask Why You Can.”

  1. Teacups says:

    I agree with your criticisms, and would like to add that I got really sick of Timothy Olyphant having to save Rhada Mitchell all the damn time, but I actually liked this a lot better than Romero’s version. It isn’t awful, but out of his movies that I’ve seen, it is by far the worst IMO. Dull, badly acted characters, , not a lot of story, and very anvilicious. The actual Crazies themselves were fun, and I liked some scenes towards the end, but there isn’t much else to compliment.

    Small note – Justin Welborn is in this movie for about two minutes. He was in The Signal! Yay.

    • I must admit, I’ve never heard of The Signal before, but I just looked it up on imdb, and it looks sort of interesting. Good, I take it?

      I think the Deputy saves the Sheriff’s ass (and by extension, his wife’s ass) at least a few times, too. He even calls him on it, which I thought was funny as hell.

      • Teacups says:

        Opinions are mixed. I thought it was great. The way they revealed what was happening was fantastic. It built up this really unsettling mood, and then in the space of about thirty seconds, everything went from being just a lousy, weird night into full-on 28 Days Later territory. The acting was quite unexpectedly good given the $50,000 budget, I liked the characters and the direction, especially from David Bruckner, there was some great dialogue and humour and it was very creative and original. The final segment faltered somewhat, although it also had what were probably my two favourite scenes – the head scene, and the poignant, surprisingly beautiful ending. It’s actually my favourite movie ending, period. So yes, I myself highly recommend it, but some people did find it disjointed because of the changing directors – it’s split into three segments, and each one is told from a different character’s POV and is done by a different director, with their own style and tone. Anyway, I’d like to hear what you think of it if you see it.

        Yeah, he did. But at least the Sheriff was allowed to be useful and heroic, so he was more than just a dude in distress. The doctor couldn’t even be left on her own for even a couple of minutes without getting into trouble and needing someone to save her.

  2. fatpie42 says:

    So far I’ve seen Timothy Olyphant in this and Hitman and I wasn’t at all impressed on either occasion. Has he been in anything that’s really really good?

    But yeah, absolutely agree on the effectiveness of the pitchfork scene and the lameness of the ending, as you can see in my old review here:
    http://fatpie42.livejournal.com/86462.html

    • Justified. That’s TV, not movies, but it’s a great show, and easily my favorite thing he’s ever done.
      .
      Unfortunately, I find that Timothy Olyphant tends to be the best part about crappy movies. Examples: Dreamcatcher, Catch and Release, A Perfect Getaway. I don’t know if it’s your kind of movie or not, but I really do like Go, and he’s in that. It’s where I first saw him, actually. He plays Todd, “the good drug dealer.”

  3. Captain says:

    The original is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. You should watch it.

    Judy’s character is much better in the original. She’s a nurse, not the town’s lone, incompetent doctor, which frees her to sneak away with her boyfriend (which was a more interesting dynamic than the whitewashed married relationship) while her boss is conscripted by the military to help contain the infection. You actually get to see what the military is doing, too, which really would have helped the pace of the remake. Instead of just a lot of running around, the original cuts back and forth between our heroes trying to escape, the world’s most awesome scientist trying to develop a cure, and the guy who was called in to head the military operation trying to keep order and keep up the appearance of leadership while trying desperately to get his bosses on the phone because he doesn’t know what the hell is going on and no one will tell him anything. Both movies did well by keeping the real villains offscreen, but the remake dehumanized the government entirely, and that weakened the story considerably.

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