When I left the theatre, paint by numbers, was the immediate term that came to mind. This is a movie where the cookie cutter characters, are in stark contrast to the sharp cinematography; just like how a couple stylish but ultimately un-fulfilling scenes of violence, are in sharp contrast to the dull characters the violence is being inflicted upon.
For every good thing about 'The Crazies' remake, there is another much more obvious flaw. The whole thing has a lot of potential, good pacing, and some strong bits of atmosphere, but ultimately ‘The Crazies’ falls flat. Capable of large acts of cruelness, but the characters that these acts of violence happen to don’t matter to the viewer; and because of this the violence doesn’t matter to the viewer and that means ‘The Crazies’ isn’t scary, or exciting, the characters aren’t gripping, and the movie is boring because it relies on it's violence but never really makes us care about who is being violated.
The characters in ‘The Crazies’ are not only dull, but often quite annoying; they seem like they may be picked from a book of clichés and are capable of astoundingly bad leaps in logic. Including down right ignoring Russell's(Joe Anderson) descent into madness, until the point that it is all too obvious to the audience by the time the characters realize that there is something wrong.
The military as is so often the case are also presented as having no logic to the way they act, other then propagating evil. Going from rounding up the populace, and dividing them between "Infected" and "Healthy" only to murder all of them with flame throwers; They separate children from mothers, they separate brothers and sisters just so they can burn everyone to death at separate locations weather infected or not. Then when the army gets sick of that, they start going door to door and burning families in their back yards. They do all this, while sending troops into a contagious zone, risking their own troops too kill civilians; when they could have just done something more effective like dropping a bomb on the town.
The movie is filled with lots of pseudo-social commentary, visual references are made: some to the holocaust, and other noteable genocides; others more in line with the current age of terrorism, fear and satellite surveillance but no actual message is presented to the viewer other then "the government will kill you”. Any real message is lost in the sensationalism of The Crazies. In a lot of ways it reminded me of another big budget horror, movie with tons of Pseudo-social commentary: The Happening. Cast members wait around with dull looks in their eyes, until the script dictates they act crazy and get killed; with no reason other then to keep the plot moving, like a zombie stuck in a hedge maze it just knows to keep moving without any idea where its really going, or more importantly why.
'The Crazies” is apathetic, and careless with its characters and plot; shot with some degree of skill, although it unfortunately is lacking in logic or any heart. If they had taken some real care with this film it could have been something worth remembering, but it doesn’t seem anyone but the sfx department, and the cinematographer cared.