A small town suddenly begins to deal with it’ residents going mad and killing each other. To contain this phenomenon the military suddenly swoops in and declares the town under quarantine, rounding up the townspeople and telling them they are victim of a virus. As the townspeople kill each other and are murdered by the military a small group of survivors hides out in the hopes that they will be able to sneak past the military and out of danger.
The Crazies is the first non-zombie George Romero film I have ever seen, and I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. One of the things I love most about George Romero is that he makes entertaining films, but they always manage to be thinly veiled metaphors for something else, usually social issues like racism and class. The metaphor in The Crazies didn’t work nearly as well as the metaphors do in his other films. It’s quite obvious when watching The Crazies is the government versus it’s people, and mainly the government versus the youth/counter-culture. This was a pretty common metaphor for the 1970’s but a metaphor that Easy Rider did much better.
This is a movie that was screaming for a remake. I want to see the new version of The Crazies to see what they expanded upon because there is a lot of action that takes place in Romero’s original but very little story. The film splits it’s time between the army man in charge of the outbreak, the nurse & ex-soldier running from the army and the doctor trying to cure the outbreak and no one is ever developed into a coherent line of thought, something that I truly felt was needed.
Having been made in 1973 this version of the Crazies is also horrifically dated from the style of dress right down to the way the military communicates. I spent most of the movie wanting to have someone wax the lead actors eyebrows so he wouldn’t have a unibrow. I know all movies age eventually, but this one really struck me as needing to be updated.
Romero does make entertaining films, even ones without zombies. However, I would have liked to see him make something a bit further away from the zombie genre. To make this a zombie film all Romero had to do was take away the townspeople’s pulses – perhaps that’s what I felt was missing from this movie, there were too many hearts still beating.
Director: George A. Romero
Writers: Paul McCollough & George A. Romero
Judy: Lane Carroll
David: Will MacMillan