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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Brian Montgomery

The Crazies [Blu-ray]

 

(Breck Eisner, 2010)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Brian Montgomery

 

Production:

Theatrical: Overture Films

Blu-ray: Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked

Runtime: 1:40:44.788

Disc Size: 40,174,525,402 bytes

Feature Size: 24,218,818,560 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.94 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-Ray Case

Release date: June 29th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1

Resolution: 1080P / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

English (LPCM Audio 4608 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4608 kbps / 16-bit)
English (Dolby Digital Audio 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB)
English (Dolby Digital Audio 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB)

 

Subtitles:

English, Spanish, None

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary by director Breck Eisner

Behind the Scenes with Eisner (10:36)

• Paranormal Pandemics (9:41)

• The George A. Romero Template (9:56)

• Make-Up Mastermind Rob Hall in Action (11:27)

• The Crazies Motion Comic Episode 1 (14:40)

• The Crazies Motion Comic Episode 2 (12:44)

• Digital Effects in Motion (3:42)

• Trailers

• Storyboards: Building a Sequence

• Building the Scenes: A Photo Gallery

 

Description: In this terrifying glimpse into the “American Dream” gone wrong, an unexplainable phenomenon has taken over the citizens of Ogden Marsh. One by one the townsfolk are falling victim to an unknown toxin and are turning sadistically violent. People who days ago lived quiet, unremarkable lives are now depraved, blood-thirsty killers. While Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), try to make sense of the escalating violence, the government uses deadly force to close off all access and won’t let anyone in or out – even those uninfected. In this film that Pat Jankiewicz of Fangoria calls “disturbing,” an ordinary night becomes a horrifying struggle for the few remaining survivors as they do their best to get out of town alive.

 

 

The Film:

Romero's original version is a minor work in his major canon. I greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the '73 edition. It is lean and simple, and eventually becomes a tale of a quartet of survivalists against The Man and the zombie-like Crazies. The sheriff, his pregnant doctor wife (Radha Mitchell, above), the increasingly frazzled deputy (Joe Anderson) and the doctor's teenage assistant (Danielle Panabaker) grind through one attack and counterattack after another, yet the movie itself never becomes a grind. Eisner ("Sahara" ) knows how to film a sport utility vehicle pulling into a gravel parking lot in a hurry without it looking like every other shot in existence. Cinematographer Maxime Alexandre keeps the palette ominously brackish, and while editor Billy Fox has one too many whoops-I-scared-you! moments to deal with, even these come off with more wit and variety than usual.

Excerpt of review from Michael Phillips located HERE

 


 

Image:   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The BD edition of Breck Eisner’s “The Crazies” offers up a surprisingly good visual transfer that nicely compliments the film’s scares. The film is more or less evenly divided between daytime and nighttime shots, but there is no loss of quality when shifting between the two. In fine object level detail, clarity rates extremely high. Colors look light source appropriate. During the day, colors are vivid and beautiful, without unnecessary or glare. There’s no hint of artifacts or unwanted manipulations, and fortunately, the zombie effects aren’t betrayed by excessive clarity. Overall, this is one of the better transfers that I’ve seen this year.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:

The audio is competent, if not remarkable. The film comes with three English language tracks, mastered respectively in LCPM, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Digital 2.0. Of these, the lossless LCPM 5.1 is the only HD choice, and the one that I’ll discuss from hereon. The audio is utilitarian in that it adequately gets the job done, but will never be the sort of track that you’d show off your stereo system with. It has more than decent levels of clarity and contrast, and even smaller background noises register quite well, but it doesn’t stack up against the best of what’s available. The film also comes with optional English and Spanish subtitles.

 

 

 

Extras:

The extras here are an interesting mix. Beyond the valuable director commentary we also get a pair of behind the scenes documentaries called “Behind the Scenes with Director Breck Eisner” and “Paranormal Pandemic” (don’t be fooled by the title, there’s nothing paranormal in the film) that largely retread the same territory with the same participant interviews (although the latter suffers from an annoying amount of cast and crew telling us that the film is so terrifying because IT COULD REALLY HAPPEN!). Next, we get a reverential examination of the zombie genre as developed by George Romero, which consists largely of horror insiders discussing Romero’s career. The piece is interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is because Romero completely disavowed the remake. Next up are a pair of technical shorts. In the first, “Digital Effects” in motion, we get to see how a pair of the film’s CGI heavy scenes were developed from the original shot through color corrections, computer animation, and eventually the finished product. In the second “Make-Up Mastermind Rob Hall in Action” we meet the team responsible for the zombie effects in the film and see how they transformed an actor into one of the trio of hunter zombies encountered late in the film’s third act. We also get a series of trailers, storyboards, and on-set photos that should be of interest to those that liked the film. Finally, we get what I found to be the disc’s most valuable extras, a pair of animated comic books that deal with the back stories of three of the film’s characters, including one where we get a first person perspective on the transformation into one of the crazies. For those that enjoyed the film as much as I did, these comics were a real treat.

 

 

Bottom line:

When the film was first released, it met with a surprisingly strong critical reception. I’ll join in that chorus here and say that this is one damn fine horror film, and one of the best zombie flicks that I’ve ever seen. This was a blind buy made on the basis of the critic’s reaction, and one that I’m very glad that I made. If you consider yourself a horror fan, then this is an essential purchase. I give this a very, very high recommendation.

Brian Montgomery
August 6th, 2010

 

 

 

 

 




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