The Crazies stars Deadwood’s Timothy Olyphant as David Dutton, Sheriff of a small town in Americana. The film opens at a high school baseball game as director Breck Eisner explores Norman Rockwell’s cliché America in order to get character backgrounds out of the way. We have The Sherriff, his Loyal Deputy, and Various Normal and Kind Folk that populate Heartland America.
Sheriff Dutton and Deputy Russell Clank (Anderson) are attending Opening Day and absorbing the smell of cut grass, processed cheese, and steamed hotdogs. It’s a perfect day to open spring until Dutton notices a man stride into the outfield armed with a shotgun. Panic ensues and the Sheriff handles the situation, but the pace is set and the most recent adaptation of a George Romero original (The Crazies ) gets underway.
The Crazies is by all means a derivative genre thriller that you have no doubt seen before in one incarnation or another. Though its derivative nature can be argued because it is based on the work of an originating director in the genre, there can be no doubt that we have had a number of similar films in recent memory: Pontypool, 28 Days Later, etc. . . The aim of The Crazies is not to reinvent or do something clever with the genre, but it’s rather to make a movie that plays firmly within the clichés of the genre and produce a familiar but entertaining thriller.
Olyphant finds his comfort level, once again, in a mid-grade thriller set in an isolated location with a smaller-than-average cast. These are largely the same ingredients as last year’s surprisingly well done A Perfect Getaway and the results are similar.
The Crazies is good genre fun that is perhaps a tick above average across the board. If you like the genre, grab it; if you don’t, skip it.