Skip to main content

This Time the Zombies are Crazy

Movie Title: The Crazies (2010)
Spoilers: No

---

There are easily recognized marks of a good movie. One of them is that it has me thinking about it for a while after it is over. I may not have liked the ending. I may have gone a different route in the way the plot wrapped itself up had I directed it. I may have some lingering questions about the story, maybe even some troubling gaps that need to be filled in my head in order to feel confident recommending it. But I can't quit thinking about it. Good movies can eat at your mind.

The Crazies is one such film. Directed by Breck Eisner, it stars Timothy Olyphant as Sheriff David Dutton and Joe Anderson as Deputy Russell Clank, two men struggling to make sense of why their small and quaint Iowa town is suddenly plagued with unexplained cases of insane behavior. Mentally disconnected townspeople become heartless homicidal maniacs. The strange physiological changes are like nothing a doctor has seen. At least, not a civilian doctor, but the military knows what's up.

Before long, Sheriff Dutton and his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) are on the run with Deputy Clank. Their goal: survive, and if possible, get past the quarantine zone in one piece. Trying to survive in a city fallen to chaos will prove to be no easy thing. Things were bad. Then the military showed up. Now the mess of mass hysteria is worse. No small town with softball game attending, baseball cap-wearing Baptists for citizens deserves this.

The Crazies is a to-the-bone-chilling, visually shocking “zombie” flick that isn't quite a zombie flick. Zombie flicks have notoriously weak plots built on the noticeably cracked foundations of unjustifiable premises and outrageous happenings created to showcase guts and gore. Guts and gore, nothing more. They toil not, neither do they spin. They don't make us think, but The Crazies doesn't fit the profile. It is garnished with a revitalized plot that right nearly makes you say: “Just what if something like this happened?”

Movies as of late have gone overboard in throwing in “the F word” to express tension in the lack of it (think Pride and Glory, 2008). There is a good time for a person to use the F word, and this Resident Evil-style movie is packed full of such occasions when you know you'd use it (churchgoer or not).

Creeped out, you will be presented with three questions: a) What the fuck is going on? b) Is the outbreak to be feared the most, or c) Are the government's efforts to contain it worse than the threat itself? Who can't appreciate the human tendency to make bad things worse? We're pros at it.

Unassuming but sensibly competent, the characters fill their roles. As always with the films where the plots are most easily presented, they are the better ones to watch. It will explain itself effortlessly and prove to be worth the view, demanding your forgiveness for only a few clich├ęd and incogitable plot mechanics, and some heavy borrowing from 28 Days Later.

The Crazies nearly makes the cut as a must-see for anyone who can deal with the unapologetic gore and the needlessly added “zombie” makeup affects. The latter was a layer of phony and should have been left out. Is seeing ordinary gaunt people with nosebleeds with diverse symptoms and infection timetables who are willing to burn their children alive any less cool? The Crazies will stand to be counted with the 1973 original off which it is based.

And then there are those nagging questions that are left unanswered: Is “it” going to start again? How will the unjustifiable actions taken by the military be explained to the public? What happens goes way beyond a credible explanation and can't be covered up. Maybe these considerations are worthy of a grade-point deduction, but back to what we said earlier...the better movies tend to make us think.

(JH)

---

Grade: B+ (3 ½ stars) Recommended!
Rated: R (for extreme gore, violence, and harsh language)
Director: Breck Eisner
Summary: The inhabitants of a small town in Iowa are suddenly plagued by insanity and mysterious deaths.
Starring: Timothy Olyphant "David Dutton," Radha Mitchell "Judy Dutton," Joe Anderson "Russell Clank," Danielle Panabaker "Becca Darling," Christie Lynn Smith "Deardra Farnum"
Genre: Horror / Sci-fi / Thriller
Trailer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…