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Jason C. (JJC) from NEWARK, NJ
Reviewed on 8/26/2010...
I remember walking home from grammar school one afternoon in 1986. Many times, before I would actually go home, I'd make a stop to the video store and drool over all the VHS boxes. Ah, movies galore! This particular day I'm referring to, I rented a film called "The Crazies" directed by George A. Romero. The box was a man in a white radiation suit and a gas mask. At 13 years-old, I already knew Romero because of my obsession with "Dawn of the Dead" and "Creepshow." The cover of that box was just the icing on the cake to rent that fucker. I watched, I loved...but that was the first and last time I watched the film until Blue Underground released the film on DVD a few years back. I always found "The Crazies" to be a lost gem of Romero's. It's still a cult classic, but no one really ever talks about it, or discusses it. Some horror fans I know never even seen it, which may be one the reasons why it was remade.
With Romero as executive producer, 2010's "The Crazies" follows the story of a virus outbreak in a small Iowa town. It begins when Sheriff David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant) is at a town ballgame when he notices the former town drunk walk right out onto the field with a shotgun. Dutten confronts the man, who has this eerie stare which Dutten labels as intoxication, and in an instant act of self-defense, Dutten shoots him dead. After autopsy reports show the man had no alcohol in his system and that other townsfolk seem to have the same eerie stare, Dutten and his deputy, Clank (Joe Anderson) begin to investigate, leading them to a sunken plane in the local marsh. Supposedly a government chemical leak emitted from the plane, flowing into the town’s water supply and you know the details from here. After the government moves in, takes over the town and separates the infected from the non-infected, Dutten realizes that no matter what, the government is exterminating everyone, cleaning up a mess...no survivors, no witnesses. The film becomes a ruthless chase picture of horrific proportions.
With a good supporting cast consisting of genre favorites like Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker and Glenn Morshower, the remake of “The Crazies” is good one. Nicely paced, well acted and very edgy. Directed by Breck Eisner, who gave the big-budgeted, lackluster flop “Sahara” a few years back, proves himself a solid director here. The screenplay by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright is nice and tight and pays a decent homage to Romero’s version. There were elements of the first film that made Romero’s version extra creepy, you might recall a father driven mad and having sex with his daughter, a scene that was very controversial at the time. Nothing like that here.
All in all, Eisner’s “Crazies” is worthy and definitely competent.
*** (out of ****)
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