As a toxin begins to turn the residents of Ogden Marsh, Iowa into violent psychopaths, sheriff David Dutton tries to make sense of the situation while he, his wife, and two other unaffected townspeople band together in a fight for survival. Written by
The old police car does not have partition between the front and rear seats. See more »
Um, Dr. Dutton, my aunt's in town.
And she's sick too.
Phew, I'm going to need you to stay late tonight. You know, you should probably text your aunt - Scotty - and tell him you can't make it to the baseball game tonight.
See more »
A scene concerning the fate of Ogden Marsh appears during the closing credits. See more »
A remake of the original movie made by George Romero in the 1970s, The Crazies tells the story of what happens after a highly infectious contagion finds its way into a rural water supply after a classified plane crashes and turns the previously down to earth townsfolk into violent rampaging killers the 'Crazies' of the title. First off it's fair to say that the new version of The Crazies is a vastly superior film to the original. The story is very well set up and generally builds momentum at a nice pace. You don't feel like you're being plunged blindly into the action.
Of course the story isn't exactly new. While it still remains a brilliant premise and was no doubt unique in the 70s when the original was made, nowadays we've seen this type of thing many times before. Movies such as Rec, its remake Quarantine, 28 Days Later, its sequel 28 Weeks Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake have saturated an already overcrowded market - with probably yet more to come. But while it's easy to say that the remake is just another in the aforementioned cycle of movies, it must also be pointed that when Romero did the original, he arguably invented a new genre just like he did when he made Night of the Living Dead: as well as 'the dead coming back to life' genre, Romero gave us 'the killer virus that turns normal people into insane killers' genre. The reality of the matter is by making those movies all those years ago, he was virtually inventing two types of story that would be mined again and again in later decades in everything from films and books to video games. If the aforementioned 28 Days Later is credited with the resurgence of the zombie flick, then it must also be acknowledged the debit it too owes Romero's original 'Crazies' film: this is no zombie flick. In both movies the victims are not the walking dead, but alive and kicking, albeit completely insane.
While the production value is much bigger than the 70s release, the acting in the remake beats the original hands down. This is a movie with something for everyone: for the gals, there's Timothy Olyphant while Radha Mitchell supplies the goods for the guys. Playing the town Sheriff, Olyphant makes for a solid, likable and charismatic lead. Based on what he does here, surely A-list status and multi million dollar action roles are within his grasp. Similarly, playing his wife, Radha Mitchell brings a lot of gravitas and humility to her role and creates a very likable character. It's one of those rare moments of credibility and good casting - where the chemistry between two principals is so strong, you actually believe they could be married in real life and because of this, you're rooting for them every step of the way while everything around them is going to hell.
There are two definite stand-out scenes in the movie: one set in a quarantine area with a group of people strapped to gurneys while a previously carefree towns person lumbers around wielding a pitch fork is chilling, while another, set in a car wash where every slap on the windscreen is to be feared, is relentlessly claustrophobic. These aren't just great scenes, its great film-making. The Crazies is a very well made film. Even the age-old and rather hackneyed 'no signal for the cell phone' problem, typical in movies such as this, is solved very neatly here. Rather than having it as a throwaway line of dialog, it's worked effectively into the plot. Plus in another key moment that can only be described as jaw dropping, we get an overhead shot of a crashed aircraft in a deep swamp. For a remake, it's fair to say this movie has its share of surprises.
Another major plus is rather than telling the story from the usual teen perspective, the movie defies protocol and focuses on the adults. A refreshing change from the usual teen canon fodder, this is a smart move and makes it more than just another 'teens on the run' flick. Also while we know the U.S. government is responsible for the crash and the subsequent outbreak, motives are still kept effectively obscure. No explanation is ever offered and the film is all the better for it. By keeping everything so murky adds an air of mystery and menace to the proceedings. One small criticism, though: the film opens with an unnecessary 'flash forward' to a blazing inferno of a town where we see flaming cars. Clearly this is the aftermath of whatever disaster is about to take place because then we see a 'Two Days Earlier' caption and the movie begins. This opening brief as it is - does absolutely nothing to help the film. If anything it slightly lessens away the impact of what happens later because we've already had that small foretaste.
However that's just a small complaint. Overall The Crazies is a well acted, entertaining and thrilling roller coaster ride of a movie. Everything moves along at a nice speed and the running time is not so long as to outstay its welcome. It delivers a good deal of jumps and scares, and is entertaining from start to the finish.
66 of 97 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?