Should we fear biological weapons more than nuclear ones? Perhaps. But if these two types of weaponry are combined, the impact would be even more horrifying. The Crazies, a remake of an early George Romero flick, follows a courageous sheriff and his wife as they try to survive during such a catastrophe. Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell offer strong performances here, but the plot contains almost as many holes as a slice of swiss cheese. And yet, this movie features some suspenseful moments plus one of the scariest scenes I’ve ever seen on film, so I don’t think all horror fans will be disappointed.
No doubt fans of Olyphant will be pleased when they get another glimpse of his determined Deadwood-sheriff walk down a deserted street during a short scene at the beginning of the movie. However, I can’t help worrying about this talented actor becoming typecast in sheriff roles. He was splendid in the popular HBO Western series and will be appearing as -- you guessed it -- a sheriff in Justified, an upcoming FX offering. Personally, I’d like to see Olyphant in more parts like the weird character he portrayed so convincingly in A Perfect Getaway.
Mitchell (Surrogates) comes across as a loving partner in The Crazies. Her character has just found out she’s pregnant, which intensifies the suspense concerning what will happen to her as the insanity around her mounts. In one terrifying sequence, I could barely peek at the screen because her fate appears to be so dreadful. I wanted to shout, “Someone stop that man with a pitchfork!”
What’s causing all the craziness? A U.S. military plane has crashed near a small town, and the cargo it carries is responsible for infecting people with a slowly disfiguring and fatal disease. But that’s not all. The infection causes them to be extremely violent. Government efforts to take care of this situation become violent as well. The result? Insanity reigns.
While similar to the more satisfying Pandemic, The Crazies leaves us with too many unanswered questions as well as feeling unclear about what was happening on screen in many instances. For example, what’s the basis used for separation of the population? Why were some people immune? Why such violent exterminations?
Still, if you enjoy hide-and-seek horror films, this one isn’t bad. Viewers who prefer more sophisticated plots may not agree with me.
(Released by Overture Films and rated “R” for bloody violence and language.)
For more information about The Crazies, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.