The Crazies: Mad people with cunning plans to kill you
People are going crazy from bad chemicals in the water. The Crazies are crazy in a murderous way. And then after a while their faces start melting. This isn't good news for a sunny American town, where everyone was having a nice time until this happened. The chemicals came from a crashed military plane, and the government decide to 'quarantine' the place. Soldiers in masks turn up to herd everyone around and explode things. For the sheriff and his wife, who probably aren't sick, this is a very unfortunate few days. As a horror film The Crazies has a fundamental problem. The crazy people aren't scary. They're extremely violent but not horrifying. As a version of a zombie infection, it doesn't get it right. Zombies are brainless monsters that lurk and shamble, these are mad people with cunning plans to kill you. More action than horror. There aren't even any hordes of them. A few sequences get away with it by highlighting scraping pitchforks, but our heroes don't run into many of the monsters. The real menace is the military, who turn up with flamethrowers and big trucks. They're so good at killing the crazies that the sting is taken out of the film. Of course, they want to kill the characters too, but they should have arrived a bit later. I want more scenes of 'I wonder where everyone is', and 'what's wrong with Mr Hobbs, he's looking a bit pale today'. So it tips the other way, into a gory action film. Except the action isn't that exciting. There's a peculiar scene in a car wash, where the characters are trapped in their car going along the conveyor belt. Big sponges attack them from either side. It's terrifying. And when it really does all start to kick off, the film ends, leaving some unresolved issues.
The most effective part of the film is the opening scenes. The town is idyllic. Quaint. The word 'foreboding' is written across the sky in big letters. They needed to get more out of this, because pretty quickly everything explodes and the tension is lost. The Crazies is a film that has its moments, but for anyone who's seen more than one horror film, it must try harder.