It boggles the mind how small town America always seems to get the worst of everything. Not only are there the drawling accents, the lack of residents’ vocabulary and local hillbillies to deal with, but those little sleepy villages in the Midwest always seem to be the target of disease and misery. No amount of churchgoing and praying seems to be able to save these folk from unspeakable horrors.
The Crazies (directed by Breck Eisner) is a remake of the 1973 horror of the same name , and it is what you have come to expect from this genre. Setting: happy-clappy small town event. Plot: Local resident goes inexplicably crazy at the local baseball match and threatens to shoot the players (they might have deserved it for their bad play). Then, more people go a little “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”. The two only non-hillbilly residents of Ogden Marsh: Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), figure out that, wait for it … the town’s water has been contaminated with something that makes the residents insane and murderously bloodthirsty. Think The Hills Have Eyes meets 28 Days Later except I let out a loud shriek or two during the latter.
It isn’t fair really. All the good folks from the town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa want is to watch their sport and sing their hymns in peace on Sundays. But no, we cannot have that. The evil government has to test its biological weapons on small town people (hey, everyone knows the hillbillies are a little nuts already). Bloody agents.
Before you know it, the U.S. army has overrun the town, exterminating the infected (they use fire-blowing hoses to torch the poor souls), putting people in cages and separating families. Now, it is of course up to Sheriff Dutton, Judy, and two expendable sidekicks to escape the crazies, who seem to have permeated every farm, truck stop and car wash outside town.
It is all just a little too familiar. There is nothing particularly frightening about the film. The storyline is tired. The actors are B-list. The dialogue might as well have been written by a child:
Sheriff: “You know what?”
His deputy: “What?”
Sheriff: “We’re in trouble.”
Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker
Rating: ½ out of 5