Friday, 10 February 2012

The Crazies (2010)

The Crazies is a 2010 American horror film directed by Breck Eisner. Written by Scott Kosar and Ray Wright, the film is a remake of the 1973 film of the same name by George A. Romero, who is also the executive producer and co-writer of the remake.

The Crazies stars Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell. The film takes place in the fictional town of Ogden Marsh, Pierce County, Iowa, "friendliest place on Earth," whose town water supply is accidentally infected with the "Trixie" virus. After an incubation period of 48 hours, this virus gradually transforms the mental state of the infected into that of cold, calculating, depraved, bloodthirsty killers, who then prey on family and neighbors alike.

The film was released on February 26, 2010 to largely positive reviews from critics, and was a box office success both domestically and internationally.

The Plot

In the town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, David (Timothy Olyphant), the local sheriff enjoys a baseball game. His deputy, Russell (Joe Anderson), spots Rory Hamill, a local resident, entering the outfield holding a shotgun. David is forced to shoot and kill the unresponsive Rory. David and his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), the community doctor, begin to notice other town residents exhibiting bizarre behavior. The next night, a local farmer burns his house down with his wife and son trapped inside, killing them.

While investigating the discovery of a pilot's body in a swamp, David and Russell discover a military aircraft submerged under the water. Communication services are lost, and soldiers arrive to take all residents to quarantine at the high school. Everyone is examined for symptoms of infection. Judy does not pass the examination and is separated from David. She explains her fever is due to pregnancy, but is sedated anyway. She wakes strapped to a gurney as the perimeter of the facility is breached by the infected. The military personnel evacuate, abandoning Judy and the other civilians. David is nearing evacuation, but escapes and rejoins Russell. They rescue Judy and her hospital assistant, Becca (Danielle Panabaker).

David, Judy, Russell, and Becca make their way out of town on foot, unable to find a working vehicle. They encounter Becca's boyfriend, Scotty, when they pass through his farm. Soldiers raid the farm, shoot Scotty and his mother, and burn the bodies. They learn that the soldiers have been ordered to shoot all civilians who have potentially been exposed. The group repair a patrol car, and, once on the road, are spotted by an attack helicopter and drive into a car wash for cover. Infected attack and kill Becca, and the helicopter destroys the car. On foot, Russell disables a passing government SUV with a police spike strip. The driver, presumably a government agent, reveals the cargo plane contained "Trixie," a "Rhabdoviridae prototype" biological weapon. Enraged, Russell shoots the driver and threatens Judy and David. When confronted about his behavior, Russell realizes he is infected and, after being disarmed, begs to go on with Judy and David. He later dies while distracting soldiers at a blockade, so that Judy and David can sneak past.

David and Judy arrive at a truck stop to search for a vehicle, discovering the military also executed those who were evacuated. Fending off infected, they escape in a semitruck. Ogden Marsh is destroyed in a massive explosion as they flee, and their truck flips in the passing shockwave. As the couple walk towards Cedar Rapids, a view from a military satellite highlights first the couple, then the city, and the words "Initiate containment protocol" appear, signifying a new containment attempt.

In the credits, a news clip is shown in which the newscaster Bruce Aune of KCRG-TV 9 News reports that an explosion originating from the Dakon Pendrill chemical plant started a massive fire in Ogden Marsh, "with eyewitness reports of a 400-foot fireball that lit up the sky." He goes on to report a second explosion at a nearby truck fueling station, alluding to the truck stop. He says a perimeter has been set and civilians are not being allowed into the area. After that, the news clip cuts to a soldier with his rifle brandished, then to a snarling crazy, and then cuts out completely as the signal is lost.


Reviews for the film have been generally positive. Based on 137 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating of 71%, with an average score of 6.4/10. The site's consensus states the film is "Tense, nicely shot, and uncommonly intelligent, The Crazies is the rare horror remake that works." By contrast, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a "mixed or average" score of 55% based on 30 reviews.

Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune awarded the film 3½ stars of 4 commenting that he "greatly prefer this cleverly sustained and efficiently relentless remake to the '73 edition. It is lean and simple." Eric M. Armstrong of The Moving Arts Film Journal wrote that "The Crazies is a solid B-movie and one of the few remakes that actually surpasses the original." Ty Burr of The Boston Globe gave the film 3/4 stars touting the film as "extremely solid stuff – about as good as you could hope from a B-movie retread." Variety film critic Dennis Harvey also praised the film, writing "While not a slam dunk, this revamp by helmer Breck Eisner (of the enjoyable but underperforming Sahara) emerges an above-average genre piece that's equal parts horror-meller and doomsday action thriller.

However, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a C, writing, "I don't care how this premise has been dressed up, we've seen it a jillion times before." Mike Hale of The New York Times wrote a mixed review stating "The filmmakers seem so determined to make a serious, respectable horror movie that they have only the bare minimum of fun." Amy Biancolli, writing for San Francisco Chronicle, wrote that the remake "boasts less of the plot and fewer characters than the original, but the hairdos are spiffier and the special effects have graduated from cheapo stage blood to the extravagant gross-outs that horror audiences now routinely expect."

The Cast

Timothy Olyphant as David
 Radha Mitchell as Judy
 Joe Anderson as Russell
 Danielle Panabaker as Becca
 Christie Lynn Smith as Deardra Farnum
 Brett Rickaby as Bill Farnum
 Preston Bailey as Nicholas
 John Aylward as Mayor Hobbs
 Joe Reegan as Pvt. Billy Babcock
 Glenn Morshower as Intelligence Officer
 Larry Cedar as Ben Sandborn
 Gregory Sporleder as Travis Quinn
 Mike Hickman as Rory Hamill
 Lisa K. Wyatt as Peggy Hamill
 Justin Welborn as Curt Hammil
 Chet Grissom as Kevin Miller
 Tahmus Rounds as Nathan
 Brett Wagner as Jesse
 Alex Van as Red
 Anthony Winters as Town Pastor (as Tony Winters)
 Frank Hoyt Taylor as Mortician Jim Finley
 Justin Miles as Scotty McGregor
 Marian Green as Mrs. McGregor
 E. Roger Mitchell as Fire Chief Tom

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