People who shout at pigeons. Men who stick their penises in toasters. Women days before they bleed out of their vaginas. Members of the George Lamb fanclub. Those who believe in global warming, when it’s clearly snowing at least somewhere in the world.
Sadly none of these people feature in the latest horror remake from zombie legend George A.Romero. On the plus side The Crazies does feature a character going from bed to bed stabbing people in the chest with a pitchfork. Cool!
Come visit Ogden Marsh, a quiet little village in Iowa with a baseball diamond, friendly neighbours and a downed Military Jet that’s causing all the locals to shoot each other in the face. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) decide, since they don’t want their faces shot, that they should probably vamoose from the ‘not so sleepy anymore’ sleepy little town. The locals, and the military, have other ideas.
It seems almost formulaic to call The Crazies formulaic but, well, it’s a little formulaic. A mix of Romero’s own Dawn Of The Dead blended with Stephen King’s The Mist with only a small does of Right At Your Door, the essentials for ‘small town in threat from itself and outsiders’ are never really deviated from enough.
Yes, the presence of the miltary reasonably early on seems to flag a change of pace from the usual, run/hide/run/hide stalker-horror indicated by the set-up but soon enough we’re off in a small band of survivors waiting for them to crack, one by one.
Some of the set-pieces (the car-wash being the most notable) are pretty nifty but there’s very little tension at any point in the piece. When the aformentioned ‘pitchfork stabbing’ man creeps closer to our heroine every audience member could (VERY MINOR SPOILER ALERT) call the exact moment he’s gonna get a gunshot to the back.
Timothy ‘Not Oliphant’ Olyphant is as dependable as ever, whether giving out his own crazy eyes or just portraying a sheriff who seems to have watched these type of movies enough to know exactly what’s going on. (Check out how quickly he discovers it’s ‘something in the water’. That fucker should be a detective not a sheriff.)
Able support comes from Brit Joe Anderson as the best Deputy Sheriff in the world. A man so willing to do whatever his Sheriff asks of him it’s a shame he’s used as a decoy towards the end in a will he/won’t he go crazy sub-plot. Up until the Third Act he’s exactly the kind of man you need around in a crisis. Top work on the American accent too.
While The Crazies may be predictable, thanks to Olyphant and some nicely gruseome deaths it’s fun enough to pass an hour and a half.
Just don’t expect the Iowa Tourist Board to be heaping praise on it anytime soon. That’s if there is an Iowa Tourist Board…
When Owen Nicholls is not sticking his dick in electrical appliances he edits and writes for www.thisfilmison.com.