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The Crazies
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93 of 108 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 4, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
THE CRAZIES is not a great film, nor will it likely even enter the "Hall Of Fame" of zombie-type movies. However, it is a tight, well-constructed and reasonably well-acted thriller that is more than worthy of a look.

In the small mid-western town of Ogden's Marsh, high school baseball season is just getting started. Everyone in town is there to size up the quality of this year's team...and frankly, life just couldn't get any finer. In less than 2 minutes, we get learn all we need to know about this little town...we see that it's a town where everyone knows everyone. Everyone has a place and is contented. Life is simple but satisfying. But when a glassy-eyed farmer with a shotgun wanders onto the field of play (actually, he has what might be described as a zombie-like stare), the sheriff (played at a perfect pitch by Timothy Olyphant) tried to talk him out of his weapon. Their brief, tense confrontation ends in the death of the farmer...and the town is rattled. Things quickly escalate as more and more citizens begin acting weird, violent and yes, CRAZY.

It isn't quite a zombie movie...no dead person is coming back to life. In fact, it's more a cousin to 28 DAYS LATER, where the zombies were really just people infected with rage. But whatever the case, we essentially see the very quick collapse of this little society...especially when the government quarantines them and begins to separate the sick from the well.

The movie takes a fairly predictable path from here...there's not really much we haven't seen before (although the film does feature the scariest journey through an automatic carwash that we've ever seen). But there is seldom much in the way of the truly new in this genre...it's all in the execution. If the film is constructed well enough, we don't pay quite so much attention to some of the plot holes (or if not holes, at least areas the stretch credibility, even if we accept the initial premise). THE CRAZIES is well-constructed, and uses its modest budget well. It doesn't attempt anything it can't pull off well, so there aren't lots of cheesy effects. It assembles a small core of characters, and makes us care about them just enough to draw our sympathy at their plight.

The central relationship is between sheriff Olyphant and his wife, the town doctor, played by Radha Mitchell. They are a couple that has clearly been together for awhile, and there are no big histrionics between them. They feel like a couple that has a natural ease between each other, and even when pushed to extremes, there's never any doubt that they're comfortable. This reflects the overall ease of the movie...it doesn't push too hard. Olyphant and Mitchell feel more like a married couple that is comfortably at ease with each other...not the typical movie couple who always have to find a way to tear each other's clothes off and fool around, even as the world collapses around them. I liked that...and it made me really root for them.

In many ways, the most interesting relationship is between Olyphant and his deputy, played by Joe Anderson (ACROSS THE UNIVERSE). Their interplay, the casual deference of the deputy for his boss, their unshakeable sense of duty all feel natural. These are good guys...but in quiet, unassuming ways. They just do what they feel is right, even if they're really scared. The movie is not showy about them...it's not like their Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in LETHAL WEAPON...they're just a couple of small town law enforcement officers who wear their badges not only with pride but with an instinctive understanding that they have RESPONSIBILITY as well.

The movie has scares aplenty, and lots of tense scenes. There's a great scene in the latter half when the couple is confronted by a couple of crazies in their own bedroom...we've got four people basically clawing and scratching at each other in a tiny room, and it's maddening to watch.

It's nice to see a good, honest little film that knows its business, but takes the time to get enough little details right to make it just a bit more than ordinary. If you're in the mood for a few jump-in-your-seat moments, you could do far, far worse than THE CRAZIES.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I knew nothing about The Crazies going into the theater. I didn't know it was originally produced by the father of the zombie genre, George Romero. And I didn't expect to see a movie about a sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife (Radha Mitchell) with my own wife six months pregnant. Please note: this review contains spoilers.

The movie starts out slowly. In these stressful times, we're all too familiar with scenes of sudden gun violence in an idyllic setting. After sheriff Dutton is forced to gun down a former town drunk on a little league field, the town of Ogden Marsh begins to unravel. Everybody knows everybody else in this small town and a murder leaves emotional aftershocks that traumatize its citizens. This includes Dutton's wife, who happens to be the town doctor.

The tension slowly notches up from there. These early moments are critical in establishing The Crazies as a superior horror film. The petty rivalries, the secret and not-so-secret grudges, the sadistic bullies - all of the townsfolk's deepest impulses are let loose through the TRIXIE virus, a military bioweapon that has accidentally (?) contaminated the town.

Unlike so many other horror movies, Dutton and his deputy Clank (Joe Anderson) are precisely the people who should be dealing with an outbreak. The problem is that they are little fish in a very big pond. The movie quickly morphs from a slasher flick to survival horror when the military gets called in, loses control, and pulls out.

What makes The Crazies so refreshing is that it plays on horror tropes, using it to narrative advantage. We find out that the soldiers who are executing townsfolk aren't faceless, that the TRIXIE virus may or may not be transmitted through the water supply, and that taking one's temperature isn't a guaranteed means of identifying who's infected. The Crazies makes no promises but always delivers.

This ambiguity may frustrate some people who expect everything to be wrapped in a neat bow, but director Breck Eisner knows that there is horror in uncertainty. It's precisely this lack of clarity that makes the movie so good - the villains aren't unilaterally evil, the victims aren't always helpless, and the solutions aren't always moral. The Crazies wallows in the gray area of harsh decisions, treating an outbreak with all the ethical gravity of a war.

Let there be no doubt, this is as much a war movie as it is a horror movie. The real crazies, Eisner seems to say, is anyone who would trust authority. These days, that may not be such bad advice.

P.S. Stay through the credits!
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59 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2010
Format: DVD
Gina from Haunted Flower reviews "The Crazies" directed by Breck Eisner and produced by George A. Romero based on his 1973 version. It stars Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, and Joe Anderson. A contagious mental illness takes over the inhabitants of a small town in Iowa.

[...]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Make no mistake-"The Crazies" is a horror film. You may have read that it's really a modern remake of an old 1973 George Romero horror film by the same name. I haven't seen Romero's original, but this film is very well-done.
The biggest name in this film is Timothy Olyphant in the lead role as sheriff of small town Ogden Marsh, Iowa (population 1260). The rest of the cast and the director, Breck Eisner, are not quite as well-known, but they all do a very competent job. The acting and the directing are so well-coordinated that you never have the feeling the film is trying to "showcase" a particular actor, nor that the actors are ever competing with each other for attention. That, along with the pace of this film, which to me seemed just perfect (transitioning very gradually from casual to almost frenetic as things fall more & more apart) really allows the viewer to suspend disbelief and immerse yourself in the story. And there is plenty of story. There's plenty of scares too, but this film never loses sight of telling a story, focusing on a small group of people trying desperately to escape this town alive. They have not only the "crazies" to contend with but also the military (in classic Romero style, the government is no more trustworthy than the disease). The violence is just sufficient to maintain a real sense of suspense, without over-the-top or gratuitous gore.
The film is almost entirely first-person viewpoint, and along with the characters we learn that something is terribly wrong, people are going berserk and senselessly attacking others; that it apparently came from the cargo on a military plane that crashed in the marsh which supplies the town water; that it might have become airborn; that the military is rounding up and quarantining everyone; and finally, that nobody is going to be allowed to get out...
There are also plenty of head-fakes in which you don't know whether something awful is about to happen or not, but these too are done in a reasonably sophisticated way, not overly calling attention to themselves but just keeping you constantly on-edge and not knowing just what's coming next.
The blu-ray looks great and the musical score is good, particularly at the ending credits. There are a moderate number of "bonus features"; three short (10 minute) featurettes being the most interesting to me. This was really filmed in Iowa, as well as in rural Georgia (enabling filming to avoid the cold Iowa winters and the hot Georgia summers). The whole story takes place over just a couple of days. I'm doubting there will be a sequel although the final sequence left open the possibility. This is a very nicely-done horror film with good characterization and a somewhat understated style. It should appeal not just to horror film devotees but to a somewhat wider audience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
Even the critics liked this one better. The original film (of the same name, written and directed by the grandfather of survival horror, George A. Romero) and the remake share some similarities in plot, but the characterizations are completely different. But Romero did co-write this one; I guess some hindsight helped this version. Here we have local law enforcement struggling to figure things out instead of former military folk trying to do the same. With Olyphant and company, the film seems a bit more grounded as (at least for me) we actually care about these characters more than their 1973 counterparts.

Either way, we are given a good turn of survival horror as a small town becomes infected by a military bioweapon. The story rides upon the edge of a knife with one slip putting the characters against the infected and the other means getting caught by the military. It is a good look at 'creepy' instead of standard and expected scares, though there is more than enough of the later. There is a great climatic final bout before the credits roll and in the end, I might even watch a sequel if it still had the same characters.

The BD features a bit more than standard fair in the way of special features: a good commentary track with the director, a handful of behind-the-scenes and even a pair of motion comics. All of the features are put together well, no tedium or monotony in the lot. As for presentation, the picture is crisp and clear and the 5.1 track does add to the tension. I'd rather heard a 7.1 track, but I guess I'm still waiting for soundtracks to catch up.

It is rare nowadays to see a real and honest horror movie. Most times we are spoon-fed psycho teen popcorn flicks or gorefests with no plot. While both can be mildly entertaining it is nice to find one that is worthwhile.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2011
Format: DVD
The Crazies is a remake of a 1973 movie of the same name directed and written by George A. Romero ( Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead fame). George Romero is the Executive Producer for this new film. The movies starts off with scenes of a town in chaos, with burning buildings, houses, and cars. We then switch to 2 days earlier, of peaceful shots of Ogden Marsh, a town with a population of 1260. But, not for long... During a local high school baseball game the local drunk, Rory,comes across the field with a shotgun in hand and a crazed look on his face. Sheriff Dave Dutten (Timothy Olyphant) attempts to calm him down, but is forced to shoot and kill him, when he raises his shotgun. The movie unfolds with various scenes of the town slowly descending into anarchy. Husbands are burning their families, a doctor sews up his patients mouth, as people are losing their minds. During this time, 3 locals find a dead parachuter in the swamp. Dave and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) take a trip out to the swamp, and find a military plane under the water of the swamp. Could this plane be the cause of the locals going crazy?

The next 2/3rds of the movie, deals with the United States military quaranteeing the town; no one gets out, and no one gets in. The military cuts the phone and internet service, and rounds up all the townspeople to the local High School. Dave is separated from his pregnant wife, Dr. Judy Dutten (Radha Mitchell), when the military runs a scanner over her, and it goes off. The rest of the movie deals with Dave, Judy, and Deputy Russell attempting to evade the military, and escape Ogden Marsh.

I enjoyed the intensity of the film, as the small group escapes one intense scene after another. The car wash scene was a favorite of mine, along with a brawl between Sheriff Dave and a doctor. The director (Breck Eisner) definitely kept up the pacing of the film to keep you interested throughout. As other reviews have mentioned, I also liked the actors interactions with each other. Especially between Dave and his wife, and Dave and his Deputy. As the desperation of them escaping escalates, there are great scenes making you wonder which of the 3 have the Trixie virus, if not all of them. Timothy Olyphant is one of my favorite actors, and I thought he did an excellent job in this film.

I just wanted to mention why I did not give this film 5 stars. There were some glaring plot holes and "leaps of faith" required from the viewers. For example, the military is supposedly watching all the streets and highways for townspeople, yet several times during broad daylight our group just marches down the highway with no one bothering them. I know this is a fictional movie, but you would think they would be a bit more careful. And definitely make sure you keep watching through the End Credits. The DVD Extra's were also very good for a horror film.

DVD Extra's :

* Behind the Scenes With Director Breck Eisner
* Paranormal Pandemics (Could the Trixie virus be applicable to the real world)
* The George A. Romero Template
* Make-Up Mastermind : Rob Hall in Action (transforming the actors to the infected)
* 2 Episodes of "The Crazies" Motion Comics
* Visual Effects in Motion (showing various movie scenes with shot film and added visual effects)
* Movie Trailers
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
I have never seen the original "Crazies" film so I can not comment on which version is better. The Crazies(remake)takes an overplayed zombie genre idea and tries to make it more realistic. The story is told simply with a plausible background story. Instead of hordes of zombies running around like supercharged baboons or sloth-like undead roaming aimlessly, these "zombies" are alive and act fairly human(at least from a distance), but have a pretty mean disposition. Depending on how far gone they are, they can almost seem normal...I said almost. What makes it seem much more real is that they still seem to have a little memory of the former selves and react to people they know. The special effects and gore are played down a notch, but it doesn't make the film any less frightening. This is largely because the "zombies" are the least of your worries! I'm a fan of some of the classic zombie films and there have been a number of good ones in recent years, but The Crazies is one of the few that made me think could this happen? ...and that's pretty scary in itself!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I really like this horror movie. It is not a zombie movie. It is a movie about infection and how it affects a town of ordinary citizens. It starts with a dramatic killing and gets scary from there. First there is the "what the hell is going on?" Then when we know that, here comes the government response. And the question is "what the hell is going on?" A lot of suspense. The citizens of the town are trapped in a hell on earth, not of their making. It is ordinary people trying to deal with a horrible situation. And the government response, that rings true, not because they are evil, but because you know that is what they'd do if something like this happened. The decency of the deputy who makes the ultimate sacrifice, even though he knows he is already "not right". A last act of humanity because he knows he is going to lose that. And the ending --- a total loss of control because things are even going to get worse, and our heroes, are they doomed even after a valiant battle to survive, because of a technological accident? And the nagging question: are we all ultimately doomed? But the real question is: who are the crazies? The infected townsfolk or the government because of what they have done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Carnage in the car wash! There's an awesome scene in this movie that takes place in a large car wash. To most, this would be no big deal. But to me, I find it exciting. Why? Because I think car washes are fascinating. They're like one of those little funhouses you ride through at the carnival. Only instead of monsters, you get water exhibits, that splash, spin, move and do all kind of freaky things with suds. It's like going into this little wet world, that is totally shut off from the outside. (All this, for only two dollars and fifty cents!)

Anyway, in the movie, the last survivors of a town gone to hell, take cover in a giant car wash that sits in the middle of a big empty field. (which is rather strange itself) The Crazies, hence the title, are a bunch of town folks who get infected and go all batty on one another in nasty creative ways. You've seen this story told before, (especially in Stephen King novels) many times, nothing new here, but, it's always fun to revisit new tellings.

Though they are infected, this isn't a 'zombie movie' it's more like what happens when that nice little old man who lives down the lane, suddenly ups and gets a shotgun for no apparent reason and decides to start taking tarket practice at the town's little league baseball game.

There's also a scene in a room where people are strapped in beds and one of the 'Crazies' gets 'pitchfork happy' and starts making rounds to show them how happy he really is. (hence the scene on the movie box, that's him dragging his fork). And of course, our pretty heroine, the town doctor, is strapped to one of these beds watching as he moves closer and closer toward her. Gulp! Even though this moment is horrific, it's not overly gory. It focuses more on the suspense of it all. It's a low-key scene which is very strange considering the violence and madness that's taking place. If someone quizzed me right now and asked me if the scene was done in slow-motion, I would second guess myself. (it's not by the way), but that's how surreal this movie feels at times. Like an afterthought. A dark daydream if you will.

In fact, I think that's why I like this movie so much. It has a quietness about it that is very off-putting. It also reminds me of a 70's movie, or, something that you might experience at a sleepy drive-in back in the day. Like the 1984 movie 'Impulse' starring Meg Tilly, which is very similar in plot and style, both films could have been seen under the stars with other epidemic films, or yarns they would be sometimes called, like, 'Where have all the people gone?' 'Day of the Animals' (which I absolutely love) 'Blue Sunshine' or even a supernatural thriller like 'Shadow of the Hawk'.(which I had the scary pleasure of seeing at the drive-in when I was seven years old).

Even though we really don't get a hold on the main characters, or care too much about them, we still feel the slow dread of their problem. Though it is a remake of an earlier George Romero film, it doesn't have the raw, docudrama style that his film flavored. But still, at times, this new version feels just as detached. The violent outbreaks often play out like documented incidents. You could almost expect a date and time card posted in the corner of the screen before each chapter. Just like in a 'X-files' episode, the movie often feels that chilly.

And now, let's get back to that killer car wash scene!

Just imagine being in an active car wash, with your loved ones, and your car suddenly stops. To make matters worse, you are now surrounded by a strange group of people, hiding and slowly moving toward you through the shower of rain and spinning gadgets. They don't care about getting wet, getting soap in their eyes, or machinery slapping them in their butts, because they're all a little crazy, remember?

Once again, just like the pitchfork scene, this encounter is milked for all it's worth. One minute we see a body standing in the suds. Then another starts to move through the shower to the left. Then, someone is now slipping and sliding on the roof~! They may be nutty, but they sure are sneaky! It's like 'Jaws', but in a car wash. Or, better yet, Norman Bates, deciding to take his 'shower skit' to new heights.

Even though this growing fear is played straight, there's still a brief moment for some wry humor. At one point, after spotting a man standing in the falling water, a passenger cries out, "There's something moving out there!" Then the sheriff, who's at the wheel, dryly remarks, "Everything is moving out there!"

What's also impressive is the way the scene is formed. Once the car windows come down, and the hands start reaching in, suds and water begin flying everywhere! It's amazing how technically smooth this piece of action plays out. The suds, for the most part, are where they should be. And the people that got soaked, stay soaked. From someone that has worked on films before, I can only imagine what it must of been like in the editing room for this segment. Exciting, but probably exhausting.

So, what happens next, you ask? Do they all get out of the wash alive? Does their car look nice and shiny? Do the 'Crazies' stay inside and wait for the next unlucky driver? Well, you gotta see the movie to find out.

But, I will leave you with this last thought. After watching this movie, you may want to skip the trip to the gas station and just pull out the old bucket, sponge and hose, and clean your car yourself. Kevin Brian

*other films with deadly car washes, the remake of 'Carnival of Souls' and 'The Edge of the Axe'.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 14, 2010
Format: DVD
Director Breck Eisner has taken the concept of George A. Romero's original movie, and produced a contemporary version of The Crazies that feels like the worst parts of Outbreak and 28 Days Later combined. Better in every single way, terrifying at every turn, this is a nail-biter, an updated horror film that does not disappoint.

When a quiet, elder gentleman interrupts a high school baseball game by walking into centerfield toting a shotgun, the town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa is irrevocably changed. With residents suddenly plagued by a mysterious sickness that turns them into psychopaths, the military springs into action, quarantining the entire town and attempting to stifle the outbreak by removing and immobilizing the sick. Meanwhile, sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant), his wife (Mitchell), the town deputy, and one other fight for survival

Despite the fact that nothing is terribly original, the movie avoids being too predictable. Scares jump off the screen from beginning to end, and the tone of the movie is believable enough to be ominous throughout. Some of the scenarios in which the sick bound out after our heroes are completely unexpected. The special effects are creative enough to add well to the thrust of the film without being Michael Bay level ostentatious. The makeup and gore are top-notch as well, with blood, brain, and viscera splattering multiple times, accompanied by my approving applause.

Horror fans will love this movie, and I view it as redemption for an underwhelming predecessor. I loved it from setup to explosive ending. Be on the lookout for the pitchfork scene! YIKES!

Jason Elin
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