Written by: K.J. Ging, Special to CC2K
Poor middle America and the small towns with only one gas station, one doctor, one Sheriff and his lowly Deputy. It always seems that these places just beg for bad things to happen. Take Ogden Marsh, Iowa for example. This little town, miles away from the big city of Grand Rapids, is one of those places where everybody knows everybody else’s business and it’s not always a bad thing. In The Crazies however, someone is not telling the whole truth and when we find out what that truth is and who’s not telling us, well, it makes you worry.
Timothy Olyphant, who could have a career playing Josh Duhamel’s twin brother or at least his stunt double, provides the text book performance as Sheriff David Dutten; the go to small town Sheriff who has just enough curiosity, guts and standard stupidity to keep this wonderful B movie alive. All the roles in this 1973 George Romero remake in fact are pretty standard but that doesn’t mean they weren’t well executed (no pun intended). Radha Mitchell stars as Judy, the town Doctor and wife of our beloved Sheriff. She keeps the audience abreast of any medical pitfalls that may occur and of course can provide any diagnosis to whet our foreshadowing appetites. Joe Anderson (The Ruins) gives a solid performance as Russell, the Sheriff’s Deputy always willing to go that extra mile for his boss; even if it’s off a cliff.
I love a good old-fashioned slasher flick and Director Breck Eisner delivers a perfect first date, okay maybe second date option to have that special someone hold you tight while you brave all the blood and guts. Eisner had a lot of help with a screenplay written by Ray Wright (Pulse) and Scott Kosar (The Amityville Horror, 2005, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2003). Those movies get as bloody and gutty as any of them. One thing I look for and appreciate in these types of films (or any film really) is originality. Eisner scores a couple times in this movie from the opening scene to a whole new way to experience your local car wash.
The Crazies upholds the tradition of a solid, low budget horror film that can keeps you on the edge of your seat, forces some to close their eyes once or twice and in the end be glad they don’t live in Small Town U.S.A. Of course, is any town really safe?