Life moves at a different pace in Ogden Marsh, Iowa. That is, until a downed military airplane carrying a to-be-decommissioned biological weapon crashes and contaminates the water supply. Soon after, the once neighborly population begins tearing itself apart.
The 2010 Breck Eisner remake of George A. Romero‘s The Crazies lends itself well to modernization. In a world where everything can be monitored, tracked, and analyzed from a safe distance, Big Brother has never been more omnipotent or terrifying as when the US military rolls into the sleepy town of Ogden Marsh and starts detaining its population.
Starring Radha Mitchell and Timothy Olyphant as husband and wife, David and Judy, The Crazies is an intimate horror film that begins innocuously enough on a Spring day and then quickly unravels over the course of a nightmarish, chaotic 3-day period.
The Crazies is relentless and terrifying on personal, psychological, and primal levels. The filmmakers practically use every technique in their toolkit to bring the fear to the audience – they confine the characters, they confuse them, they challenge them, they put them in death’s grip time and again. All the while, always giving them (and you) the sick hope of being saved.
It is truly depraved … and delicious storytelling.
While this is done in other films, to greater extent, The Crazies holds back just enough to keep the plot moving at a steady (and interesting) pace without overly fatiguing the viewer with a bunch of shock and awe. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of gore, and shock, and awe, but never at the expense of maintaining a solid storyline.
What I like about The Crazies is the lack of information the viewer really has about what’s happening, who’s infected, and who’s to blame. Is the toxin airborne, is it blood borne, can you only contract it if you drink the water? And really, when it happens, you know it’s over. At least, for them. The sense of dread is imminent and terrifically inescapable – as the final moments of the film will reveal.
Add to this the intimacy of the small town setting and you have a great character drama, something refreshing, and uniquely uplifting, for a film in the genre.