Welcome back, boils and ghouls, to a very special edition of PAUL’S HORROR FLIX! This week, you won’t have to venture to your local video store, or Amazon (or try to import something) to find the movies we’ll be chatting about – you just need to go to your local cinema! That’s right, we’re discussing theatrical horror this week, with two very different, but still very horrific, movies!
- The Wolfman
- The Crazies
Check out the reviews after the jump, and start saving up money for the matinee!
Man, I’ve been dying to see this film. Back in October, I visited Universal Studios Orlando’s The Wolfman haunted house, as part of their Halloween Horror Nights event. It was one of my favorite houses of the event, and had be super psyched for this film, which has been the victim of many well-publicized delays and troubles. The director hat changed multiple times, as did the score writer for the film (Danny Elfman, then not, then back to Danny Elfman), as well as delays for effects work and heavy editing to get to the first wolf transformation as soon as possible.
I’d be lying if I said that all of these problems had no effect on the film – the film has HUGE flaws. The pacing is definitely off – it races through certain scenes, and dead stops in others. The acting is uneven. Certain moments just reek of being cut down to fit a running time. However, despite all of these flaws, The Wolfman is definitely worth seeing. It’s not the masterpiece that I think it could have been (with just slight alterations), but it is a pretty darn good film.
The story is pretty simple – Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) has returned to the home of his father (Anthony Hopkins) after the death of his brother at the hands of a mysterious creature. It’s there that he meets and falls for his brother’s fiance, Gwen (Emily Blunt), but of course all this romance is cut short when Lawrence starts looking for his brother’s killer. It’s here where the film’s editing gets in the way because it seems as if his attempts to find his brother’s killer are pointless, given that the Wolfman pops up before he can do any detective work. It all feels rather sudden, and, before we know it, Lawrence is all of a sudden sprouting fangs and munching on people. Oh…and all of a sudden, we’re racing towards the next wolfman tranformation, big stuff happens, then we’re racing towards another one. Keep in mind the fact that it’s only supposed to happen once a month, and we’re left wondering why the hell some of this stuff takes a month to happen.
Still, the film is absolutely beautiful to behold, and it’s a bit of a bummer that the retro style that starts the film (especially with the beginning sequence) doesn’t stick throughout the rest of the film. And I think that’s where the major flaw of the film comes in – it’s just not fun. We have an odd mixture of retro fun, like in the actual wolf costume, but we lose it in the dreary tale being told of the film. I wanted to love this film, but I think my experience at the theme park actually helped my opinion of the film. Those without the nostalgia factor that I had may not dig it as much.
I hated the original The Crazies, and this is coming from someone who actually likes George Romero films. Still, trailers for this remake had given me hope. It seemed like it was going to be an intense little flick and, while the trailers gave me the impression they were going more of the “zombie” route with this film than actually, you know, “crazies,” I was happy that the film is much less like a zombie film than those trailers would have you believe. While I had a hard time staying alive watching the original, this remake never stops moving, and even the quieter scenes have a built in tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entirety of its running time.
The acting is stellar all around in The Crazies. Timothy Olyphant is perfect for this kind of role, and Radha Mitchell as his wife, the town doctor, does a solid job as well. The story of The Crazies involves a small town under the threat of a biological threat that turns the residents, well, crazy, and the government comes in to handle the situation, by whatever means possible.
The closest film I can compare this to in feel is the remake of Dawn of the Dead. It has similar visual styles, and similar intensity. However, like I mentioned, The Crazies isn’t just another zombie flick – the crazies are coherent of what they’re doing. They’re not just ravenous cannibals – in fact, they’re not cannibals at all. They’re just violent and homicidal. Visually, this flick does a solid job of making you forget that its director, Breck Eisner, did Sahara too.
While I can say that the ending of the film felt a little generic to me (it’s the ending of pretty much every film like this), it at least fits the mood of the film. The Crazies is making solid box office money, but I highly recommend you see this on the big screen!