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The Great Zombie Debate

February 25th, 2010 by Jordan Bonitatis Content Operations

Anyone who is a fan of zombie films will appreciate The Crazies, a retelling of the 1973 George Romero classic, but those who are not connoisseurs of the culture of the undead, like me, will have plenty to enjoy as well. A simple story with a skillful director and a talented cast separates The Crazies as a decidedly legitimate piece of cinema.

The film does an excellent job of boiling down the subgenre to its most basic elements: escalating outbreak, dwindling band of survivors, hordes of psychos, and an anxiety about who might be infected. It starts off at a full gallop and simply doesn’t quit until the end credits. The episodic nature of a horror film, if not done well, just leaves an audience fatigued and ready for the end. Director Breck Eisner did a good job of pacing the “boo” events while moving the plot. The casting was simply perfect; each actor embodies the tried-and-true archetypes perfectly. The strength of the cast was more than capable of anchoring the narrative as one about people and relationships thrown into a horrifying circumstance rather than the opposite — a terrible situation that just so happens to have these folks involved — which ends up crippling most other horror films.

The real standout star of The Crazies, however, has got to be cinematographer Maxime Alexandre. While zombie films are often synonymous with “B-films,” Alexandre transcends that barrier by filming The Crazies with the sweeping beauty of an epic western and the well-lit terror that reminds me of Kubrick’s The Shining.

After watching the film, a handful of us in the attendance chatted up zombie conventions a bit more and I realized that it is not as simplistic as I had thought. Rather, people feel quite passionately about what defines a zombie — and a zombie movie. For instance, does a zombie need to shuffle, or can it run? Are zombies limited to the living dead, or could a zombie be a creature infected with a mind-altering virus? And finally, should zombies be handicapped from rigor mortis or bigger, stronger, faster? Share your thoughts on the great zombie debate in the comments below.

The Crazies shuffles its way to theaters February 26th.

Jordan Bonitatis
Hulu’s Trailer Guru

Last comment: Feb 26th 2010 1 Comment
  • Moorhead says:

    Great write up! I haven’t seen the new version, but have heard nothing but good things. I just watched the original recently, and one of the great things about that is that Romero, who had already made his name in a big way with the most famous zombie movie of all time, made a zombie movie with no zombies. And I think the comparison of the soldiers in ‘The Crazies’ to the zombies of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ bring up some interesting points – both villains are perfectly single minded and don’t hesitate to use deadly force. This, more than anything, was Romero’s comment on the US government and military after Vietnam.

    Regardless, though, I think the zombie comparison is apt. So even though the modern zombie runs and the classic zombie walks, it’s all in the game. Or something.