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The Crazies Continues the 2010 Apocalypse

The Crazies
Directed by Breck Eisner
Written by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright based on the 1973 film by George S. Romero
Overture, 2010

We’ve been bombarded by apocalyptic pictures this year, and now that The Crazies has arrived, I’ve gotten just a little tired of the whole thing, but at least this picture is decent, and is the best of the bunch that has come out in these short two months.

A remake of the 1973 Romero flick, with conventions familiar to newer moviegoers via the 28 Days Later type of movies, The Crazies begins with a single man taking a shotgun onto a baseball field and getting shot by sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant).  Dutton thinks it’s a tragic case of a man having one too many, but the toxicology report shows nothing.  At the hospital, his pregnant wife Dr. Judy Dutton (Radha Mitchell) treats another man who seems to be afflicted with a bit of the crazy, and it’s not long before he’s going violent.  Seems to be some sort of epidemic in the works, as the people in this small Iowa town all begin to get a touch of the sickness, and it appears to be coming from the town’s water supply.

But before it gets too out of hand, here comes the military, who has of course known about it all along, and they’re rounding up citizens and blasting the infected into grease spots.  And, true to form, the military/government isn’t much better than the infected themselves, and in fact are the larger villains in this whole thing.  The Duttons ultimately want to get to Cedar Rapids, along with David’s deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) and Judy’s secretary Becca (Danielle Panabaker), dodging crazy people and military types all over the place.

The movie contains several scenes that are well-made, this coming from Michael Eisner’s son, Breck, best-known for that horrific Matthew McConaughey flick Sahara.  There’s one involving a surgery saw that will have you both on edge and laughing at the same time, and a couple of out-of-nowhere displays of military efficiency that are every bit as frightening as the infected, murderous, zombie-like townspeople.

In between these really good scenes are your typical apocalyptic survival horror conventions, and this can get a bit tiresome, but at least you get moments you can talk about with your fellow moviegoers afterword.  It’s worth a watch if you’re looking for anything on this scarce weekend.

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