Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker
Screenplay: Scott Kosar, Ray Wright
101 mins. Rated R for bloody violence and language.
George A. Romero has made some pretty incredible films across his long career in the business, and while I enjoyed his 1973 film The Crazies, I always felt it was the perfect film to be remade. The Crazies didn’t have a large fanbase, it didn’t work really well like most of Romero’s other work. It was a good idea for a remake.
Ogden Marsh is one of the friendliest small towns in America until Rory Hamill shows up to a baseball game with a shotgun in his hands. Sheriff David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant, TV’s Justified, Mother’s Day) is forced to take him down when Rory raises the shotgun toward him. But that’s just the beginning. People in Ogden Marsh are acting crazy, and when the government invades, he and his deputy, Russell (Joe Anderson, Across the Universe, Hercules), are off to rescue David’s wife Judy (Radha Mitchell, Silent Hill, London Has Fallen) and escape the town before it is overrun, or worse…
The Crazies is an intense little movie that proves that great horror can exist if you have great talent involved. Director Breck Eisner (Sahara, The Last Witch Hunter) proves his worth creating stark visuals and building tension in each of the set pieces, but it is the intense performance from Olyphant and Anderson that drive the film.
Eisner expertly opens the film with Johnny Cash’s “We’ll Meet Again” from the same album as “The Man Comes Around” which played during the opening of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Johnny Cash’s music just works so well in both cases for perfectly setting the mood of the film. The Crazies has elements of a Western, and it is this style that gives it a flair and sets it apart from the 1973 film.
The Crazies should get extra points for not falling back on cliche when it easily could have. In fact, it’s a creepy little adventure across an apocalyptic landscape with an alternate take on the classic zombie tale. This is one that should have been more talked about, but it’s lack of focus on plot as the film goes on lost some of my attention on it. Even so, The Crazies should be more sought out and celebrated as an example of how remakes should be done.
-Kyle A. Goethe