Main cast: Timothy Olyphant (Sheriff David Dutton), Radha Mitchell (Judy Dutton), Joe Anderson (Deputy Russell Clank), Danielle Panabaker (Becca), Christie Lynn Smith (Deardra Farnum), Brett Rickaby (Bill Farnum), Preston Bailey (Nicholas), and John Aylward (Mayor Hobbs)
Director: Breck Eisner
The Crazies is loosely based on the 1973 movie by George A Romero, so yes, this is something of a zombie movie. Still, these zombies are not the usual brain-munching variety. They look like zombies, but they would rather perform acts of savage violence due to some mysterious epidermic. Basically, this movie is set in the sleepy town of Ogden Marsh, where the folks slowly turn into deranged homicidal maniacs. Only four people seem to remain sane as the world goes mad around them: the town sheriff David Dutton, David’s doctor wife Judy, Judy’s assistant Becca, and David’s deputy Russell. When the government folks show up to quarantine these folks and, predictably, leave them to die when things seem lost, these four will have to fight their way out of town.
Instead of being an apocalyptic zombie movie, this one feels more like an extended episode of the 1990s TV series The X-Files. There is very little that is explained by the last reel, and the movie is also replete with tinfoil hat allusions to military conspiracy when it comes to biological weapons and such. David and Judy don’t have the chemistry of FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, however. Despite being a doctor, Judy doesn’t do much here other than be a damsel in distress that requires David to constantly come to her rescue. David is a likable fellow, and it doesn’t help that Mr Olyphant is always so easy on the eyes, but there are many moments when he comes off as too capable. He’s even immune to whatever it is that is taking down the other folks in town. At the end of the day, he’s a one-dimensional hero. Joe Anderson almost steals the show as the increasingly out of control Russell, but then again, with the bland female lead characters and the equally bland David, even a dancing hippopotamus can steal the spotlight easily.
Still, this movie is a pretty decent kind of entertainment. It’s full of standard horror movie clichés, right down to those “Why oh why do they even think it’s a good idea to split up?” moments, but these standard scares are put together nicely. Director Breck Eisler has one thing right, at least: he shows good timing when it comes to building up the scary moments and dropping the “Boo!” climax in a manner that actually works. Therefore, while there is nothing too surprising here, the movie is still a watchable – if forgettable – flick at the end of the day.