A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Crazies is a violent, somewhat cynical remake of a 1973 film by famed horror director George A. Romero. The tense movie is filled with strong language, disturbing images, i.e. grisly piles of mutilated and burned corpses, as well as blood, jump-scares, and other frightening moments. But despite this, and the over-reliance on genre clichés, the movie contains some interesting ideas and should spark some good conversation between parents and older teens about the role of the military in society and the human instinct for survival.
What's the story?
In a sleepy small town in Iowa, a blank-faced man walks into the middle of a baseball game carrying a gun, and the local sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) is forced to shoot him. The sheriff's wife, the town doctor (Radha Mitchell) sees patients with similar behavior. It turns out that an experimental military virus has been set loose in the town, turning everyone into mindless, homicidal maniacs. Soon the military shows up, trying to contain the problem, but they cause as much violence and destruction -- if not more so -- than the "crazies." The sheriff, his wife, the deputy, and a teenage girl decide to flee across the county lines to safety, all the while fending off attacks from both sides, and risking contracting the virus themselves.
Is it any good?
A remake of George A. Romero's 1973 Vietnam-era movie, THE CRAZIES retains all the social commentary of the original, but streamlines it and smoothes it into a regular horror film. It cuts down on the many talking and bickering sequences in the original, and turns the military men into faceless, voiceless spooks who are more or less the equivalent of the "crazies." In a way, the new film is perhaps even more direct in getting Romero's anti-military message across.
Though the movie relies a bit too much on standard genre conventions like jump-scares, last-second rescues, and characters splitting up to search for things, it makes up for it with a high standard of acting, mainly by Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell as the married sheriff and doctor. Their realistic reactions to the horror around them are far more effective than any amount of shock imagery or bloody gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Crazies. Did the movie's high body count have a shocking or a numbing effect on you? Why or why not?
Which are worse, the "crazies" or the military men? Why? What message about the military do you think this movie sends? What role does the military play in our lives, past and present?
In the movie, there's no way to tell when someone first comes down with the virus. How far would you trust a friend or a family member in this situation? Talk about humanity's instinct to survive.
In the early scenes, Becca tells an outright lie to her boss so she can meet her boyfriend. Do you still sympathize with her after this? Why? Is it ever OK to lie?
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