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The Crazies

Crazy is as Crazy Does

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Ogden Marsh is a small, peaceful Iowa town perfect for settling down and raising a family. Everything in Ogden Marsh is reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting from the small family doctor to the entire town showing up for the season-opening high school baseball game. Unfortunately, the peace and serenity of this idyllic town will be shattered forever when the denizens come down with a severe case of The Crazies.

The aforementioned season-opening baseball game for the Ogden Marsh Tigers comes to an abrupt and disturbing end when Rory Hamill (Mike Hickman), a recovering alcoholic, stumbles onto the field in the middle of the game with a shotgun in hand. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) happens to be in attendance, but his attempts to reason with Rory only result in Rory getting his ticket punched.

Disturbed by Roryís behavior, Sheriff Dutton assumes Rory fell of the wagon, but the autopsy reveals Rory hadnít been drinking anything. While perplexing, Dutton has little time to ponder this mystery as other folks start exhibiting crazy behavior as well. In short order, all hell breaks loose and it appears everyone is coming down with The Crazies.

Director Breck Eisner (Sahara) directs this remake (the original was directed by George Romero) with an able and steady hand. Things start relatively small and slow, but the tension is gradually brought to a generous boil as more and more people come down with The Crazies. Each encounter with one (or more) of those infected becomes increasingly disturbing.

Eisnerís solid job is complemented by reasonably solid performances from all of the key cast members. Timothy Olyphant is relatively convincing as the confused and beleaguered Sheriff Dutton. Horror film staple Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill) delivers an adequate performance as Duttonís pregnant wife. These arenít terribly complex characters, but they play small town well and they deliver their generally uninspired lines well.

If zombie films are your genre of choice, itís likely you wonít be disappointed by The Crazies. Even if you are not a fan of the genre, The Crazies is generally a well-constructed film. While technically those infected are crazy and not the undead, everything in The Crazies feels very similar to 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead, and just about every other zombie film out there.

Ultimately, it is this markedly familiar territory and relative predictability that prevents The Crazies from being one of the best films in the zombie/undead vein. Thereís no real twist delivered here. But, the generally solid execution in most areas elevates The Crazies to at least an above average film that will hold your attention.