The Crazies (2010)
Reviewed on 2010 February 27
A good remake of the 1973 George A. Romero film, directed by Breck Eisner this time but with Romero doing his stuff as Executive Producer, about watching your neighbors seemingly lose their minds and turning homicidal.
The movie just jumps into things, with the once-pretty small town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, in the middle of imploding as Johnny Cash sings his heart out. We cut to two days before, where everything in Ogden made it seem like the idyllic small town. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) is commenting on the season’s first baseball game being the first real day of spring, the sun is shining on the stands filled with happy people…and then a local guy, Rory Hamill (Mike Hickman) lurches onto the field, shotgun in hand. Things seem to be spreading rapidly throughout the town after that, and the sheriff and his doctor wife (Radha Mitchell) try to figure out what’s destroying the people they’ve known all their lives.
What drove this was how peaceful everything seemed until the craziness erupted. If you grew up in the Midwest you knew towns like this, and that makes it even more disturbing. One thing scary movies and comedies have in common is they tend to show their best stuff in the previews, and you’ll be happy to know that this isn’t the case here. One thing that I really liked — we catch a bit of it in the trailer but it takes on a whole new creepiness when you’re immersed in the movie — is the look in Rory’s eyes (or lack thereof), followed by the expression on the sheriff’s face when he realizes Rory ain’t there any more. I feel a little hypocritical liking a movie linked to noisy greenies — if you go to the official site they’re partnered with Greenpeace — but there it is.
After seeing this, I also watched the original from 1973, with the dramatic newsanchor-type acting and portentous snare drum music. Loved the scene where the “groovy” dance was interrupted. It was good, especially when you consider the budget and special effects limiting it, but I actually enjoyed the remake more. That also feels strange for me to admit, but I’ll get over it.
Three chocolate morsels.