The Crazies is a remake of George Romero’s 1973 film of the same name. It revolves around a small town in Iowa which steadily eats itself alive in the wake of its water supply being contaminated by a biological toxin, and let me tell you it’s awesome.
Naturally, thinking well of Mr. Romero, I had no real choice but to go and see it. It’s really a rollicking, exciting and thrilling film which allows the audience to get just wrapped up enough that they may experience a joyous frightening experience and just thought provoking enough that you don’t feel like you’re being made stupid by it.
The plot follows the sheriff of Ogden Nash, a small but cohesive little farming town. As the film progresses various townsfolk begin to behave strangely, crazily. They are in some ways zombie-like, and in some ways simply very focused. Just as things start to get decidedly knarly all sorts of military personnel show up and start herding and sorting the townspeople. The “sick” people are shot, and the not sick people are taken to a truck stop and loaded on to school buses. What happens to them after that is ambiguous, let’s be fair – probably shot.
The Sheriff, David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) ends up being one of the last standing, trying to save his infected deputy, his doctor wife and her assistant and make their way out of the town and to safety. They deal with a myriad of issues such as raging infected individuals, dealing with raging infected individuals in their homes, cars, as well as government aircraft attempt to kill them.
What is intensely interesting about this film, aside from Timothy Olyphant in uniform, was the role played by the government. *Spoilers ahead* As the plot unfolds it becomes evident that the situation is entirely caused by the government’s mistesting of a biological weapon. What follows is a situation where they are attempting to clean up their own mess and the people of the town are collateral damage. Characters we are encouraged to sympathize with are in the grand scheme nothing more than trash to be swept up and stored away.
The other thing I found interesting was the equation between “zombie” and “crazy” in the title. Romero makes the direct leap between herd mentality and a break down in logical thought. Furthermore, the fact that the affected individuals in the film are basically “victims” it could be seen to draw an interesting connected between the way unproductive “crazies” are either disarmed by the power structure on a federal level or in the case of Dutton’s survival (don’t get me wrong he’s an excellent character) by small state law.
Either way, The Crazies is an excellent zombie film, rendered skillfully with appropriate levels of gore, horror and character development.