The Crazies

As far as remakes go, The Crazies, based on George A. Romero's cult classic from 1973, is one hell of wild ride through America's back roads.

Gripping in its account of the fierce paranoia that fences-in small town America from the rest of the world, Breck Eisner's essay is brutally shocking in all the (f)right places and, as if it were a puzzle to be pieced together for a rainy Saturday afternoon, snaps together with bone-crunching appeal. Similar in spirit to Snyder's treatment of Dawn of the Dead another Romero remake Eisner gives modern-day audiences a grinding shriek-fest of terrified delight.

Welcome to Ogden Marsh. It is a picturesque town in Iowa full of small town American pride; it is a place of picnics on Saturdays and a place for worship when Sunday morning rolls its lazy bones up and around. Ogden Marsh, where sunny afternoons are full of High School baseball games; where Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) calls home and knows everyone by name. When the town's drunk wonders onto the diamond, shotgun in hand, Dutton discovers the bane in his bite has nothing to do with alcohol but is more than a little contagious and, three hellish days later, finds himself low on patience, sanity, and bullets in order to deal with his town's transformation. Whatever is plaguing the good people of Ogden Marsh is beyond the understanding of Dutton, his wife (Radha Mitchell), his deputy (Joe Anderson), and the community and has more to do with the U.S. Government.

Tapping into the paranoia that secretly fuels American lives, Eisner and company have created a brutally honest portrayal of What-If scenarios that are downright chilling and throat-clenching intense; this is atmospheric horror at its polished finest. The Crazies, while suffering from a few hiccups and minor bumps with self-induced jumps, is quite an interesting picture of one town's decent into fear and madness, where the people that once protected it from the outside world are helpless to do anything. Once marital law in enforced solely for the town's protection, it becomes clear that the real villains of the picture are to be determined by the audience which strengthens the appeal of the movie and saves it from being heavy-handed with political intent.

What is concerning about the illness that plagues Ogden Marsh is the fact that the rules of the virus established early on are being broken left and right; this virus obeys no master. This is Hell on earth, where the people you greeted on Monday with a firm handshake are now the people whose hands you fear the most. This virus won't be following an expected path and, trading imposed rules for hair-raising screams, transforms the good people of Ogden Marsh into Walking Brutality itself.

For my dime, this is what 1995's Outbreak should have been; a lean production of sweaty paranoia where fear in each other is a deafening mark of sheer horrified helplessness. Writers Scott Kosar and Ray Wright with some input from Romero himself have accomplished something few remakes can ever do: they've created a film that is much, much better than its predecessor ever dreamed of being.

Component Grades
3 Stars
3  Stars
DVD Experience
3  Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - June 29, 2010
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, Spanish
English: LPCM 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Digital copy (on disc)


Commentary Track:

  • Feature-length audio commentary track with Director Breck Eisner


  • Behind the Scenes with Director Breck Eisner (1080p, 10:35)
  • Paranormal Pandemics (1080p, 9:41)
  • The George A. Romero Template (1080p, 9:56)
  • Make-Up Mastermind: Rob Hall in Action (1080p, 11:27)
  • 'The Crazies' Motion Comic (1080p)
    • Episode 1 (14:40)
    • Episode 2 (12:44)
  • Visual Effects in Motion (1080p, 3:42)
  • Storyboards: Building a Scene (1080p)

Photo Gallery


  • The Crazies' teaser (1080p, 0:42)
  • Theatrical (1080p, 2:32 & 2:00)
  • The Crazies Motion Comic (1080p, 2:23)
  • Brooklyn's Finest, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," Pandorum, Law Abiding Citizen, and The Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Disc 2: Contains a digital copy of The Crazies, and in a rare move for a Starz/Anchor Bay title, it's iTunes/Mac compatible