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.
This 2010 remake of a somewhat obscure 1973 George Romero picture injects a mysterious virus into the water supply of a small Iowa town, and the consequences are… well, you didn't expect the consequences to be positive, did you? The movie is called The Crazies, after all. So when local folk begin acting a mite peculiar, it just means they've gone to the well too often--literally. Borrowing the structure of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the remake gets off to a clumsy start, but as the noninfected rally around the sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his doctor wife (Radha Mitchell), the action becomes streamlined and reasonably inventive. Director Breck Eisner has a particular knack for finding ingenious ways of killing people (a knife through the hand becomes a useful tool for the sheriff in one turn-the-tables moment), and he's been wise enough to hire respectable actors for the top-lined duties; along with Olyphant and Mitchell, there's also Joe Anderson (Across the Universe) as a loyal, amped-up deputy. If the movie misses the tart social-context stuff that Romero does so well, it at least fills the bill when it comes to the chase-and-escape business of a contemporary horror picture. The spate of such 21st-century remakes of 1970s horror pictures misses the raw, raggedy unease of those low-budget projects, but if you're going to make a slick new update, The Crazies is the way to do it. --Robert Horton
Stills from The Crazies (Click for larger image)