Night of the liv­ing lu­natics

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

ONE’S FURY at Hol­ly­wood’s ap­par­ent determination to re­make ev­ery clas­sic hor­ror flick of the 1970s is some­what tem­pered by the knowl­edge that the hacks of­ten do a sur­pris­ingly de­cent job of it. Both the re­tooled Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes were per­fectly ser­vice­able.Now we are of­fered a re­make of one of Ge­orge Romero’s lesser-known – but most fas­ci­nat­ing – satir­i­cal shock­ers and, yet again, the re­sults are di­vert­ingly palat­able.

The Cra­zies be­gins rather splen­didly with var­i­ous cit­i­zens of a re­mote town go­ing mur­der­ously in­sane. One old geezer wan­ders onto the base­ball di­a­mond with a shot­gun and is re­luc­tantly gunned down by Ti­mothy Olyphant’s wor­ried sher­iff. Else­where, a farmer burns down his house and the fam­ily within.

It soon tran­spires that a plane car­ry­ing poi­sonous cargo has crashed in a nearby river, and the ma­te­rial is turn­ing the cit­i­zens into ma­ni­acs. Later, gov­ern­ment forces ar­rive and be­gin an­ni­hi­lat­ing any­thing that moves. Sher­iff Tim and his part­ner (Radha Mitchell), un­sure whether they should be more fright­ened of the zom­bies or the sol­diers, fling their goods in the boot and hit the road.

Sadly, af­ter that fine start, the film loses pace when the he­roes take off for the ter­ri­to­ries. The orig­i­nal Romero film, fu­elled by anger at the Viet­nam War and state re­sponses to the re­sult­ing protests, stands as a gen­uinely rad­i­cal ex­er­cise in cin­e­matic fist-wav­ing. De­nied that fo­cus, the new pic­ture ends up con­fus­ing us as to what ex­actly we should be run­ning from. Fights with Cra­zies and tense en­coun­ters with the au­thor­i­ties are shuf­fled in dis­tract­ingly ran­dom fash­ion.

Still, The Cra­zies is a lot bet­ter than we might have feared. Is there any chance the up­com­ing ver­sion of A Night­mare on Elm Street will also pass muster? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Di­rected by Breck Eis­ner. Star­ring Ti­mothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Pan­abaker, Joe An­der­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.