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The Crazies

Dir: Breck Eisner

Rating: 1.5/5.0

Overture Films

100 Minutes

The Crazies, a remake of George A. Romero’s film of the same title has one thing going for it: the coolest use of a car wash in a horror movie. Other than that, Breck Eisner’s (Sahara) film is a tired retread that recycles every horror cliché used from Wes Craven to Romero himself. Let’s go down the checklist:

a) The film involves a rural town full of hicks and farm equipment that further propagates the inbred horror fed to us from Deliverance to Wrong Turn? Check! This time it’s the little town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, complete with scary pitchforks, white trash hunters and a very nasty looking marsh.

b) The government is up to some shit? Check! Ogden Marsh is the test site for a new biological weapon that turns people into crazy zombies. Why, you ask? Might as well test it on some dumb hicks before dumping it out on the I-ra-keys or some other brown folks.

c) The heroes are smarter than the average red neck? Check! David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his pregnant wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) are the town sheriff and doctor, respectively. They are the main characters. Who gets infected? The hunters, the farmers, the school principal and the town drunk are the ones that go nuts. The socio-economic bias is loud and clear here.

d) Crazed killers are shot right at the moment they are poised to kill a main character? Check. This happens more than once in The Crazies.

e) Characters walk into a room they think is safe and the camera pans back to find a deranged killer just waiting in the corner for them? Check. This also happens more than once in The Crazies.

f) The sound of blades scraping against walls and floors that are meant to creep us out Freddy Krueger-style? Check! Surprised?

Unfortunately, both Olyphant (who proved his acting worth on Deadwood) and some seriously stark and lonely cinematographer are wasted in a film that lacks purpose, direction or cohesion. An initial sense of dread is tossed aside and reason out the window as this silly film becomes more and more incoherent. There is only one thing crazier than the zombies in this film: the ones who gave a go ahead to make it in the first place.

by David Harris
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