Something is not right in small town Ogden Marsh, Iowa. Usually-normal people are doing strange things. The first noticeable account is when a sober man drunkenly enters a high school baseball diamond in the middle of a rival game toting a loaded shotgun. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant, Live Free Or Die Hard) runs onto the field and tries talking the gunman down, but is forced to shoot and kill the now-crazy man when he raises the weapon to take aim. Over the next day, Sheriff Dutton and his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell, Man On Fire) begin noticing behaviors against the norm from other townsfolk.
Following a stretch-of-a-suspicion, Sheriff Dutton and his deputy (Joe Anderson, Across The Universe) head into the marshes and end up finding something far more puzzling than the originally believed. The result of their findings causes an “infection” to spread, turning Ogden Marsh’s population into brutally violent zombies-like animals. Trying to outrun everything working against them, the Dutton’s, the deputy and one of Judy’s young employees make a break for the other side of the military’s quarantine blockades.
Although not everything in The Crazies works perfectly, the pacing of the movie makes it so you never get bored of the movie or where (you think) it is going. As we follow these four survivors, every few minutes something changes in the movie. For example, if you don’t like the quarantine section of the movie, just wait a few minutes and it will move on to something new. This happens over and over again for 108 minutes, giving you no time to get bored.
Aside from being driven strictly by the fear of unpredictable infected humans, there is the paranoia factor adding to the intensity level. You don’t know who is infected or when they might turn, causing you to fear each one of the four main characters at different times. You don’t know if the situation is driving them to react unusually, or if the infecting has gotten a hold of them. The threat doesn’t only reside outside this small group.
The Crazies is guilty of taking itself a bit to serious. But even with that aside, it’s still a good, fun zombie movie. If The Crazies looks like something you might enjoy, then I’m sure you will. If you’re curious, you wont be disappointed. If you want nothing to do with it, maybe you should give it a chance – it is currently at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Photo credit: Overture Films