I admit, I get nervous whenever someone wants to remake a George Romero film. It took me years to finally watch Zack Snyder's version of Dawn of the Dead, because I felt that, at the time, remaking Dawn of the Dead was sacrosanct, and just shouldn't, ever, be done. The Crazies made more sense to me. It's not a classic by any means, though I admit I'm a fan of the original. What still made me nervous was the involvement of director Breck Eisner, son of Disney executive Michael Eisner, and the director of Sahara, and if anyone other than me had actually seen Sahara, they'd be nervous as well.
Yet, as much as I was prepared to writhe angrily in my seat, I can happily report that Eisner's Crazies is pretty satisfying movie and is a respectful trip into Romero's landscape. Romero's Crazies saw him try to step away from zombies by using a virus infecting a small town then spent half the movie showing the government's attempt to deal with the virus and the other half with a handful of townspeople trying to survive, while Eisner's Crazies ditches the government stuff to focus instead on the local sheriff (Timothy Olyphant), his wife and town doctor (Radha Mitchell), the sheriff's deputy (Joe Anderson), and the doctor's assistant (Danielle Panabaker). The change is a success, with the military and their signature hazmat suits (a holdover from Romero's original and thankfully so) posing another threat alongside the infected.
Now, for those wondering if "the crazies" are just another souped-up version of zombies, they aren't. Eisner said that "the crazies" in the movie weren't zombies and I should have believed him. The trailers make it seem like there are hordes of crazies swarming the town, but this is misleading.
I bring this up because it's my biggest criticism: not enough "crazies." There's no excuse for this. This is a REMAKE. This movie has already been made once and it seriously lacked in "crazies" then. You'd never think you'd have to ask for more crazy people in The Crazies, but you do. At least 3 more crazies would have done the trick. Just three. More. Crazies.
Other than the lack of crazies in The Crazies, the movie works pretty well. It's amazing what getting some good actors does to a movie, from low-budget to a medium-budget ($12 million) like this one, and Olyphant and Mitchell carry the movie well. The movie has a few scares, and for those who "don't scare easy" at least a few moments of genuine creepiness. All in all, a successful Romero remake.
There just should have been more crazies.