The world just wouldn't be the same without zombie movies. There's just something deliciously satisfying about them. And despite the fact that they routinely share the same plot and the characters experience similar fates, the last decade has provided audiences with a shockingly consistent level of quality - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that the zombie subgenre is the most consistent of them all.
The Crazies, however, is not a zombie movie. Well, not exactly. There are no walking dead, nor any flesh eating. And yet, The Crazies still falls into the genre and continues the streak, as it is an enjoyably exciting and suspenseful thriller. Apparently a remake of a George A. Romero picture no one has heard of or seen, The Crazies delivers a one-two punch, combining zombie-esque threats with psycho-killer suspense.
Timothy Olyphant stars as the sheriff of a small farm town who one day encounters his worst nightmare: he has to gun down one of his neighbors after the deranged man pulls a shotgun on him. The next day, a loving father locks his wife and child in their house and lights it on fire. Shortly thereafter, phone and Internet access goes down. It doesn't take long for the sheriff and his wife (Radha Mitchell) to figure out that some kind of virus has infected the townspeople, turning them into crazy killers. With both their neighbors and the government turning against them, the couple attempt to escape from certain death.
The Crazies, from director Breck Eisner (Sahara), is a surprisingly tense film that has plenty of well-done action sequences and disturbing moments. It doesn't have the intestine-spilling gore that most zombie movies have, but it still has enough splatter-filled moments to satisfy. More importantly, it maintains a constant sense of helplessness and terror while delivering some truly scary moments along the way.
The movie does suffer from a few typical horror clichés: the characters often fail to check their surroundings before assuming they're safe, wander into dark, creepy areas for no logical reason and, of course, make some stupid decisions along the way. Still, the acting is strong, the thrills non-stop.
The Crazies is a fun, fast and furious thrill ride that's well worth the price of admission.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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