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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Oct 22: The Crazies


Oct 22: The Crazies

"About the inhabitants of a small Iowa town suddenly plagued by insanity and then death after a mysterious toxin contaminates their water supply."
Directed by: Breck Eisner, Rated: R, 101 minutes

The Crazies is a severely underrated horror movie. It's full of plenty of scares, packed with even creepier situations, and poses many questions as to what should happen under a violent epidemic. Yes, there are parts in the film that don't make sense (when it comes to the army and such), but as an overall movie it's very compelling, very bloody, and very fun. It blends all sorts of sub-genres of horror into a great little flick that really needs more attention.

Zombie, disease, epidemic, thriller, action, horror. It's everything.

David (Timothy Olyphant) is the sheriff of Ogden Marsh, a small town in Iowa. He's the stereotypical little town hero, knowing everyone by name and keeping the quaint little Main Street town quiet and safe. At a baseball game, David notices a man walking onto the field with a shotgun, seemingly ready to kill the little-leaguers or anyone else that gets in his way. He's distraught and looks a little "off" but David believes it to just be alcohol that's gotten the best of him. After the man pulls the gun on the sheriff  David puts him down and panic slowly rises in Ogden Marsh. Soon, more people become more violent, burning houses down and killing each other, even hunting others down as though it's a game. David discovers that something has tainted their water supply, and that a virus has taken over the populous, turning people into quasi-rage zombies, driven by anger and the lust for blood. As the army arrives, David, his wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), and his deputy, Russell (Joe Anderson) must find a safe haven and escape the "quarantining" the military puts into place as well as the locals that have become mad, seeking to kill anyone in their way. 

Who knew death by pitchfork could be so suspenseful? 

Timothy Olyphant has been an actor I've followed for years and will watch and genuinely love anything he's done. From Deadwood to Justified, the man is really the closest to a modern day cowboy than any other actor, and his grit, humor, and lengthy figure add much to The Crazies, as well as anything else he's in. He's incredibly likable and an immediate hero and seeing him in trouble makes you worried. He's not the kind of guy you want to see killed on screen so seeing him in dangerous makes you panic, even if its just the slightest. Joe Anderson is also a terrific little actor who's fallen into supporting role after supporting role, but taking each of them to places that make him much more memorable than most other actors. The combination between these two leads takes The Crazies to places much higher than most horror movies these days. Along with the acting, the directing is also solid, and Breck Eisner produces a film that's both gritty and bloody and captures the isolation of this small town and the almost hopeless situation the characters find themselves in. 

I cannot fathom why this man is not a bigger star? Seriously people, give this man all of your attention. 

The Crazies is not as much about the pop-out scares as much as it is about the uncomfortable feeling it makes you feel, leaving you uneasy and paranoid. The characters at the center of the film are all strong and very smart, thus incredibly easy to stand behind. You don't want harm to come upon them and when (and if) it does, you worry with them. The movie has a constant sense of dread and you really can't anticipate what will happen next or if anyone is actually safe. It's worth noting that this movie is actually a remake, but just like Dawn of the Dead, it builds on its predecessor, injecting a more modern "juice" and having a fresh take on the subject. I would highly recommend The Crazies. It might make you wonder how far you'd go to save yourself and if you have the balls to cut down your neighbor when they come chasing after you with all sorts of insanity behind their eyes. 

The Good:
smart script (minus a few plot points), plenty of scares, great characters, and even better acting 
The Bad:
the ending has so many holes in it, you can't help but complain... a little
The Ugly:
a semi-realistic look at the paranoia of an epidemic and the lengths the military may go to keep the majority of the country's population safe



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At October 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM , Blogger alienxphile said...

Loved this movie. I have to agree though about the ending. Why do these amazing films have less-than-amazing endings? 8.0/10.0

At October 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM , Blogger Nick said...

It's very true that there's a lot of good movies with horrible endings. Tis a shame.

At October 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM , Blogger Ben Hayward said...

Timothy Olyphant is the man! He can play anything, bad or good. I really like this film, it's fairly under-rated I feel.

At October 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Very underrated! And yes, Olyphant is king.

At October 29, 2012 at 10:30 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

Loved this movie, it was on my top ten list for that year. Exactly the kind of film I appreciate, a simple idea, well executed with some great emotional heft to it.


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