Movie Review: The Crazies

The movie opens with a friendly baseball game among some locals of a quaint Iowa town. The town sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) and his wife (Radha Mitchell) are in attendance. The prettiest girl at the local high school (Danielle Panabaker) has a crush on one of the team’s pitcher. It is basically a Norman Rockwell painting of the Heartland.

The game is interrupted when a man carrying a shotgun strolls onto the centre field. The sheriff tells everyone to flee to the dugouts while his deputy and him confront the gunman. The gunman isn’t himself. It turns out yes he maybe to the town drunk but his complexion is off as blood oozes from his nose. Also he has a look in his eye like something inside him is missing. When the man starts to raise his shotgun, the sheriff takes him out right in front of everyone. It is a gripping and disturbing scene done beautifully by the actors, director and cinematographer.

If the rest of the movie was as good as that scene then this would have been one hell of a movie.

Timothy Olyphant faces his worst nightmare. And no I am not talking unemployment.

The plot of the film is that a deadly virus sweeps the town turning people into homicidal maniacs. Hence the title, Crazies. The movie claims that the town folk get infected by the water supply. Then they change the rules in the third act of the film. So who knows.

Directed by ex-Disney chief Michael Eisner’s son Breck who also brought us Matthew McConaughey’s Sahara, The Crazies has a really strong start for the first 40 minutes this is a pretty solid movie. Then well it falls into repetition, misuse of logic and well a lack of sense. Plus the whole government angle has also been done to death. Oh yeah, and this is a remake. I had never seen the original so I really can’t compare.

Olyphant is the best thing about this film. If it wasn’t for his stalwart hero figure I probably wouldn’t have finished the movie. With his critically acclaimed turn on HBO’s Deadwood and the new series Justified, Olyphant still seems to bring a sort of panache and vigor to every hero he plays.

Radha Mitchell and Danielle Panabaker are completely wasted in this film. Radha’s character comes off as a smart intelligent woman, who is also the town’s doctor. Then she becomes this damsel in distress as the movie progresses. What gives?

There are no shocks, no twists, just more brutal gore and patients who might as well be zombies with homicidal tendencies. I would say this is a skip or a cheap rental. Check out the new TV show Justified for a cooler and better Olyphant.

1.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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