The Crazies is a remake of a 1973 George A. Romero film by the same name. Directed by Breck Eisner, this film takes place in a small Iowa town where, after Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his Deputy, Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) find themselves with a handful of dead bodies, things seem to go straight to Hell. In one of the earlier scenes a man locks his wife and son inside of their country home and sets it ablaze.
Shortly after this scene I set my hopes high for a frightening, heartless celebration of gore and violence. What The Crazies delivers instead is a tale of survival against a disease cause by government corruption and dishonesty. It turns out the entire epidemic was caused by the crash of a plane carrying some chemical weapon into the town’s drinking water. When David and Russell stumble across this problem, things in the story finally start to progress.
The Sheriff and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), Deputy Clank, and one other survivor, a young teenage girl by the name of Becca Darling (Danielle Panabaker) find themselves to be the sole survivors who are running for their lives, not only from the townspeople, but also from the troops the government has sent in to capture, murder, and burn anyone alive in the town to destroy the virus and keep it from spreading.
Director Eisner tries his best to create a film that is moody and suspenseful, and while he doesn’t fail completely, the end product is at times so predictable it is almost frustrating. You know early on who is going to die and who isn’t, simply through the dialogue. There are very few surprises throughout the film and even less scares, though there are plenty “Holy shit that startled me!” moments to help make the theater-viewing experience a bit more fun.
My biggest complaint about the film is this; every time it looks like a lead character is about to get brutally murdered, another lead character comes out of nowhere and delivers a quick bullet through the torso at the last second. This happens so often, that you eventually quit worrying about anyone with more than three speaking lines.
My second most prominent gripe is that, aside from the disappointingly small amount of gore, though the cleverly edited Hollywood trailers and commercials seemed to promise buckets and buckets of it, there is an intense lack of creativity when killing off any character, be they one of the Crazies or a member of the government agency. It’s almost always just a quick bullet or two through the torso, maybe to the head, and that just gets boring too quickly.
The quality of acting is mostly good with a few exceptions caused by seemingly forced dialogue, especially noticeable in Timothy Olyphant’s performance as he occasionally gives off that Mark Walhberg in The Happening vibe. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’re lucky. That’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Basically what I’m trying to say is that he rarely seems genuine or believable, and it’s often obvious that he’s just acting from a script. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Joe Anderson does a phenomenal job of portraying the Deputy, and he really creates a lovable, enjoyable, most importantly believable sidekick.
The most consistent part of the film is probably the pacing at which it moves along. That’s not necessarily good though. Just when things start to look up for the cast of survivors, something bad happens. This repeats itself over and over, even to the very last shot of the film. For the first 25-30% it’ll have you in it’s grip, but after that The Crazies becomes predictable and bland.
All things said, this film is meh. It’s certainly watchable and entertaining to a degree, but it falls short of being anything believable or truly scary, both of which are crucial to helping The Crazies accomplish anything noteworthy or spectacular. Inconsistent acting hurts the overall product, and the complete predictability of any potentially frightening or suspenseful situation keeps this film from being anything memorable.
Score: 6.0/10 (Below Average)
Did Peter call?