Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Quick Hit: The Crazies (2010)

Stripping away a lot of the more overt political/counterculture message that permeated George A. Romero's original film, the Breck Eisner re-make of THE CRAZIES is a surprisingly tense, thrilling and fun movie.  Timothy "Justified" Olyphant plays David Dutten, the sheriff of a small Midwestern town that has the unfortunate luck of a having a military jet carrying a "population de-stabilizer" crash into a lake, poisoning the town's water supply.  Pretty soon people start acting strange, and before you know it the town's run over by its now bat-shit insane citizens, who are compelled to kill anyone who's not (for reasons the film doesn't make clear, but who cares) a "crazy" as well.

Sounds pretty bad for Dutten, his doctor wife, his deputy and another young women who so far have not been affected, but things get exponentially worse when the government comes in to quarantine the town.  The question of who's more crazy: the monsters or the military still plays into things, but takes a back seat to the intense set pieces, including a great chase through a car wash and a standoff in a bedroom that ends in a hilarious burst of violence.  There's nothing in THE CRAZIES you haven't seen before, but the combination of good acting, a plot free of convolution and a tone that takes itself seriously (but not too seriously) makes this one of the big surprises of the year for me.

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