George A. Romero
This makes for material often more easily enjoyable in the hands of another artist, and the 2010 version of The Crazies is no exception. What that slick iteration missed, though, was the multifaceted perspective of Romero's bold but messy original. Rare is the horror film that gives such equal consideration to all sides of an issue.
Skipping any tension-building foreplay, The Crazies introduces its central threat of random behavioural outbursts taking violent form, then briefly visits a firefighter and his pregnant girlfriend having an intimate moment and jumps to the perspective of the US military setting up a quarantine around the small rural town of Evans City, Pennsylvania.
It's clear that Romero is more concerned with taking a look at the politics of repression than he is in engineering thrills. To that end, The Crazies is a fascinating experiment in form for its genre.
Each set of characters has a limited level of knowledge about the cause and scope of an infection that makes its victims do things like, commit random acts of aggression, binge eat and, in one lady's case, sweep a grassy field in the middle of a mini war zone. From the everyman firefighter just trying to preserve his genetic code to the government workers just doing their jobs (occasionally looting corpses before incinerating them out of a pragmatic sense of entitlement) to the head of the military containment operation, Colonel Peckem (Lloyd Hollar), just following orders from his faceless superior, everyone is depicted as a disposable cog in the inexorable and hopelessly myopic machinery of bureaucracy.
Since any display of irrational behaviour is a potential sign of infection, contrary opinions and acts of stress-induced frustration are frequently construed as indicators of imminent deadly aberration, creating an effective sense of distrust and unease within the military and civilian factions who are solely focused on their own self-interest.
With the volume of thought-provoking ideas Romero crams in, it's a shame the film's basic entertainment value is hampered by a miniscule budget, substandard acting, spastic editing and gunplay that looks about as gory as a game of community paintball.
The Crazies screens at 9pm on November 1st, 2012 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the George A. Romero retrospective. On October 31st, 2012 at 7pm, there's also an "In Conversation" session at the TIFF Bell Lightbox with the legendary director himself. (CFP)
ReviewsOct 29, 2014
The BabadookJennifer Kent
At every Toronto After Dark Fest, there's at least one film that rides a wave of palpable buzz and has attendees clamouring to see it. Last ...
ReviewsOct 24, 2014
Films about time travel are some of the trickiest ones to create as far as sci-fi subgenres are concerned — it's not so much about the...
ReviewsOct 23, 2014
Why Horror?Nicolas Kleiman, Rob Lindsay
As a nerd, it's always pretty weird seeing your favourite genre rise to the surface of mainstream culture, and horror is no exception. In hi...
ReviewsOct 22, 2014
Time LapseBradley King
You don't fuck with time. That's the philosophical takeaway - an idea espoused time and time again by one of the lead characters - in Bradle...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
John Geddes' Hellmouth is a kaleidoscopic vision of hell that tantalizes with some bewitching visuals but ultimately comes off more as funho...
ReviewsOct 20, 2014
Kumiko, The Treasure HunterDavid Zellner
In 2001, a woman named Takako Konishi was found dead in a remote area of Minnesota. Botched eyewitness information swirled into an urban leg...
ReviewsOct 19, 2014
Man, I really wanted to like Zombeavers. Based on the trailer, which currently boasts over three million hits on YouTube, the film seemed li...
ReviewsOct 18, 2014
ABCs of Death 2Various Directors
When producers Ant Timpson and Tim League announced that they'd be producing a followup to 2012's highly ambitious anthology film The ABCs o...