Theatrical Review: The Crazies

In the town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, strange things are happening. Citizens of the town are turning emotionally strange and violent. The town’s sheriff, David Dutton, and his wife, Dr. Judy Dutton, are doing their best to look into the mystery. Sheriff Dutton starts to make headway with the discovery of a downed plane in a nearby creek. He believes that it’s something there that’s infesting the town’s water supply and soon he finds out he’s right. Almost as soon as he makes the connection, the entire area is put into containment by the military, and then hijinks ensue.

That’s the premise to The Crazies, a re-make of an early 70s film from director George Romero. This new version is helmed by director Breck Eisner, and while it’s well-made, there’s still something that’s a little lacking for me. I’ve never seen the original film, so I can’t really draw any comparisons to that. I see that a lot of people are calling it a “zombie” movie, but it’s not technically. It’s an infestation/virus film, though I doubt that will make much of a difference to the naysayers of horror movies out there.

There’s solid tension here right from the start. It does a nice job at showing this more through the eyes of an everyman and the chaos that would result from that. Where it falters are in areas after the military moves in and a lack of consistency as to just what their presence is. One moment, they’re all over the place and the next they’re mysteriously gone, which seems more for the convenience of moving our main characters forward in the story more than anything really logical. Now I don’t necessarily need there to be a strict adherence to logic throughout a movie like this, and if it’s made with enough of a brisk pace, then normally I wouldn’t even bring it up. Here, though, there are moments when things relax enough that I did question that.

For the most part though, it’s pretty well made. No problem with any of the performances though. Timothy Olyphant plays Sheriff Dutton and Radha Mitchell plays his wife Judy and they’re both rock-solid, as is the work of the supporting cast.

There’s nothing really offensive here though, just a few moments where that paced is relaxed enough to question a few things and some added “hero” moments at the end of the film which are more padding than anything else. Not a bad little diversion, and if you like these sort of films (and I do), then you might have a good time with it. I don’t think this is one though that you have to run right out to see in a theatre and it actually might play better later on for home viewing.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

28. February 2010 by Darren Goodhart
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