Crazies, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker. Horror. Written by Scott Kosar, Ray Wright. Directed by Breck Eisner.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A picture-perfect town is suddenly filled with unexplainable violent acts. One man comes to a baseball game with a loaded shotgun, ready to kill. Another burns down his own house--after locking his wife and young son in a closet inside. Within days, the whole town has transformed into a sickening asylum; people who days ago lived quiet, unremarkable lives have now become depraved, blood-thirsty killers, hiding in the darkness with guns and knives. And who is behind it? Well, we donít learn it until the third act, and a reviewer shouldnít give away a plot point. I can say that it is an airborne virus, but I really canít tell you who accidentally launched it on its own people rather than on the bad guys.

PREVIEW REVIEW: What does it say about todayís moviemakers/moviegoers when a remake of a zombie movie has to be gorier and more profane than one made by frightmeister George Romero? Renown for Night of the Living Dead, his 1973 The Crazies was a swipe at the military, the thing to do in í72. But even his version was muddled, not really a satire, nor a coherent social statement. And neither is the updated version. Itís gorier, bloodier and certainly more profane (with 11 misuses of Godís or Christís name, mostly by the two leads).

To be fair, itís not an official zombie movie. Itís just that when the folks start getting sick, they go into a trance, their bodies become corpse-like, they want to kill everybody else, and they start voting Republican. (A joke, I had to lay off the Democrats.) The film is a real armrest grabber, it moves with good pacing and builds its paranoid tension successfully, but itís more gruesome than eerie, more depressing than scary.

DVD Alternative: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1956 version with Kevin McCarthy Ė pass on the dumbed-down and obscenity-laced 1978 remake). If youíre looking for a truly unnerving thriller, this is the one. An entire town is systematically replaced by pod people. Only one man knows the truth. But no one will believe him Ė until itís too late.

Or try: Dr. Strangelove. I mention this one because at the opening of The Crazies, we hear the song, Weíll Meet Again, a ditty used at the apocalyptic ending of the brilliant Stanley Kubrick satire. This very dark comedy concerns a military commander who goes, ďwell, a little funny in the head,Ē and launches a hydrogen bomb aimed at Russia. Kubrickís comedy pokes fun at politicians and the absurdity of war. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott head intrepid cast. (Caution: Adult subject matter).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Overture Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Around 50 obscenities, mostly a mix of the f- and s-words.

Profanity: Eleven profane uses of Godís name or Christís, mostly committed by the two leads.

Violence: eople and zombies are shot up, blown up, beat up or burned up, or meet either other assorted endings; particularly gruesome is the site of two people getting pitch-forked to death.

Blood: Oh, a lot of blood.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and children of the night

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