4.4 5
Director: Breck Eisner

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Sahara director Breck Eisner teams with screenwriters Ray Wright (Pulse) and Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to give George A. Romero's underrated 1973 shocker a shiny new makeover in this update starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell. Perform a Google search on "small-town America," and eventually you'll stumble across Ogden Marsh, a picturesque hamlet situated a safe distance from the nearest big city, and full of friendly faces. The citizens of Ogden Marsh are happy, albeit unremarkable people, but they're about to discover just how fragile their warm slice of the American dream really is. When a mysterious toxin transforms the locals into murderous maniacs, it's up to Sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) to find out why a man who was once an upstanding citizen would attempt to massacre the local youth baseball team, and a caring father would burn his beloved family alive. Within hours the town has descended into total chaos, and the government has ordered it quarantined. Anyone who attempts to escape will be shot on sight, whether they're infected or not. Realizing that their only hope for survival is to fight through the madness that has consumed their once-quiet town, Sheriff Dutton, his pregnant wife, Judy (Mitchell), his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), and frightened medical center assistant Becca (Danielle Panabaker) wage an epic struggle to discover the source of this malevolent scourge while fending off their infected friends and neighbors.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Lest we make the mistake of underestimating George A. Romero's influence in the realm of contemporary horror cinema, now might be a good time to take pause and reconsider. Director Breck Eisner's remake of Romero's intensely grim 1973 horror thriller isn't just a rousing exercise in pulse-quickening tension, but an exciting reminder that the man responsible for Night of the Living Dead gave us much more than the iconic, shambling flesh-eaters that lunge at us onscreen and lurk in our nightmares. In some ways, the loony, murderous psychopaths of the original Crazies foreshadow the demonic ragers of Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later and the sequel that followed, and with foreign films like Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza's [REC] embracing the same basic concept, it's obvious Romero's influence isn't limited by language or borders. Much like literary horror icons Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe, Romero has laid a solid foundation for our imaginations to build on. And while the modern reinterpretations of Romero's works may be largely lacking in the stinging social commentary that punctuated many of his own screenplays, efforts like Zack Snyder's surprisingly effective Dawn of the Dead remake and now The Crazies prove that, when handled with care, the central concepts still have the power to shock and entertain. Ogden Marsh is the kind of small, tightly knit community where the local Little League game marks the onset of spring, and the town doctor still knows all of her patients by name. In just 48 hours, however, Main Street will burn. The local water supply has been contaminated with an unidentified toxin that first disorients its victims, and then sends them into a violent, murderous rage. Just as Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and Deputy Russell Clank (Joe Anderson) begin making headway in their investigation, however, all local communications are terminated and swarms of gas-masked foot soldiers start herding the townspeople into the local high school. Once there, the sick are separated from the healthy and quarantined. Sheriff Dutton's pregnant wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), the local doctor, is running a temperature. Upon learning that Judy is being held for examination, the determined sheriff vows to rescue her and escape. Once they've managed to get out of the school, however, Sheriff Dutton, Deputy Clank, Judy, and frightened nurse Becca Darling (Danielle Panabaker) quickly discover that a perimeter has been set up around Ogden Marsh in a last-ditch effort to contain the virus, and that in order to survive they'll have to fend for themselves while fighting for their lives against the people they used to call their friends and neighbors. The biggest surprise about The Crazies is that it actually works. Read any horror-movie message board and you'll quickly discover that a gore-geek's favorite pastime is to whine about how there are no more original ideas and how contemporary filmmakers are cannibalizing their favorite transgressive fright flicks to create watered-down clones suitable for mass consumption. To be fair, they often make some valid points. Even so, deny an entertaining redux solely due to your affection for the original, and you may find yourself missing out on some worthwhile thrills. This is most certainly the case with The Crazies, a film that exists primarily to entertain, yet still retains flashes of the socially conscious themes that made the original so memorable -- especially in the earlier and later scenes. While he might not possess the kind of filmmaking background that would single him out as a master fear-maker, director Eisner (Thoughtcrimes, Sahara) proves that he's perfectly capable of ramping up tensions with competent, effective suspense sequences that more often than not climax in a satisfying pay-off. Sure there are a few too many scenes where someone in peril is rescued in the nick of time, but thanks to the film's brisk pace we're often too busy anticipating what's going to happen next to bemoan the film's occasional contrivances. Scott Kosar and Ray Wright's terse screenplay keeps the action kinetic while skillfully toying with audience expectations regarding a few key characters, and the central players all do a fantastic job of playing up their character motivations and questionable mental states. Respectful re-creations of two of the original film's most shocking scenes (the opening blaze and a fiery front-lawn barbecue) show that the filmmakers' hearts were no doubt in the right place when it came to crafting the remake, and the decision to jettison the original's military/scientist subplot in favor of following the protagonists on their desperate flight serves to better connect the audience to characters they genuinely care about. Oddly enough, by excising this portion of the story, Eisner, Kosar, and Wright successfully manage to temper the heavy-handed approach favored by Romero (a filmmaker who has never been accused of being subtle), and make the authoritarian figures even more intimidating by virtually stripping them of all humanity. Considering Romero's obvious disdain for authority (and the fact that he has an executive producer credit on the film), it's difficult to see him objecting to that approach. The Crazies themselves may be dangerous, but if you're looking for the real enemy, he's the guy wearing military decorations and calling all the shots from behind the scenes.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Starz / Anchor Bay
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Breck Eisner; Behind the scenes with director Breck Eisner paranormal pandemics; The George A Romero template; Make-up mastermind: Rob Hall in action The Crazies motion comic episodes 1 & 2; Visual effects in motion; Storyboards: buidling a scene

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Timothy Olyphant David Dutten
Radha Mitchell Judy Dutten
Danielle Panabaker Becca
Joe Anderson Russell
Christie Lynn Smith Deardra Farnum
Brett Rickaby Bill Farnum
Preston Bailey Nicholas
John Aylward Mayor Hobbs
Joe Reegan Pvt. Billy Babcock
Glenn Morshower Intelligence Officer
Larry Cedar Ben Sandborn
Gregory Sporleder Travis Quinn
Mike Hickman Rory Hamill
Lisa K. Wyatt Peggy Hamill
Justin Welborn Curt Hamill
Chet Grissom Kevin Miller
Tahmus Rounds Nathan
Brett Wagner Jesse
Alex Van Red
Tony Winters Town Pastor
Frank Hoyt Taylor Mortician Jim Finley
Justin Miles Scotty McGregor
Marian Green Mrs. McGregor
E. Roger Mitchell Fire Chief Tom
Michael Cole Site Coordinator
Mark Oliver Rescue Worker
Lynn Lowry Woman on Bike
Chris Carnel Car Wash Lunatic
Jimmy Waitman Car Wash Lunatic
Jay Pearson Car Wash Lunatic
Kathryn Kim Distraught Mom
Adam Dingeman Snickering Boy
Megan Hensely Babbling Teen
Lori Beth Edgeman Distraught Mother
Michael "Mickey" Cole Distraught Boy
Elizabeth Barrett Lone Woman
Rachel Storey Molly Hutchins
Bruce Aune Newscaster
Jacqueline Sherrard Local Girl
Mary Lynn Owen Distraught Woman #2
Pierre Gagnon Distraught Son
Matthew Lintz Distraught Son #2
Wilbur Fitzgerald Distraught Husband

Technical Credits
Breck Eisner Director
Michael Aguilar Producer
Maxime Alexandre Cinematographer
Greg Berry Art Director
Mark Cotone Asst. Director
Rob Cowan Producer
Billy Fox Editor
Brian Frankish Associate Producer
Christopher Gallaher Makeup Special Effects
Dean Georgaris Producer
Mark Isham Score Composer
Jonathan King Executive Producer
Alexander W. Kogan Associate Producer
Scott Kosar Screenwriter
Laurent Kossayan Sound/Sound Designer
Jonah Levy Makeup Special Effects
George Little Costumes/Costume Designer
Alex McCarroll Set Decoration/Design
Andrew Menzies Production Designer
Kenny Myers Makeup Special Effects
John Papsidera Casting
Jeremy Peirson Sound/Sound Designer
George A. Romero Executive Producer
Toby Sells Makeup Special Effects
Jeff Skoll Executive Producer
Ray Wright Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Crazies
1. Death on the Diamond/Main Title [4:59]
2. "He's Not Right" [6:22]
3. Burning Down the House [5:53]
4. Codename: Trixie [10:43]
5. Containment Protocol [7:25]
6. Prisoners of Madness [7:05]
7. Hell Town [10:28]
8. No Place Like Home [7:03]
9. Drive-Thru Ambush [13:25]
10. "So Let It Mean Something" [2:52]
11. Last Exit For the Lost [16:36]
12. End Credits [7:39]


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