johnlink re-ranks THE CRAZIES (2010)

This is the third time I’ve seen THE CRAZIES in the five years it has been released, which makes it one of the movies I’ve seen the most since starting this project back in 2009. My movie watching took a huge hit as I’ve run through six seasons of Justified in the last two months, and the show’s central actor, Timothy Olyphant, got me thinking of THE CRAZIES. In both those titles, Olyphant plays a tough guy with a badge (though the differences are stark).


I watched THE CRAZIES (2010) on 4.7.15. It was my third viewing of the film.

At the top of the film, small Iowa town Ogden Marsh is a serene sleepy small town. It’s Sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) is a likable guy with a doctor wife (Radha Mitchell). A short time before the movie’s events began, though, a plane crashed into he water supply unleashing a biological weapon which turns people into raging monsters. From the film’s top to it’s end is less than 72 hours of plot time; but what happens in that time is no less than catastrophic.

The plot focuses around Sheriff David and wife Judy trying to stay alive, and stay virus free, alongside of Deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) and 17-year-old Becca (Danielle Panabaker, who – like Olyphant – is a vet of Justified). This foursome escapes government captivity to trek across their town towards the promise of safety. What they don’t know is just how evil the government is being here.

Unique to this genre, THE CRAZIES features an omniscient satellite in the sky letting us know just how dire things are at key moments. While this pays off in a gut punch ending, the use helps to dehumanize the decisions to wipe out Ogden Marsh. We only ever get to see the face of one soldier, Billy (Joe Reegan) and his detachment from the job is both vital and terrifying. The comments by the one official we talk to (Glenn Morshower cashing in considerable government-agent capital) is a heartless villain. This is a movie which stresses the horrors of crazy virus-people, but puts that irrational violence as a distant second to the mass-murdering government. As offputting as the monsters look, the masked and hazmat-suited agents are even more alien.

This is a really solid horror movie, one of the better horror offerings of the 21st century, even if some of the supporting acting isn’t superb. The core four all work, though Mitchell has had more to do in her starring vehicles like SILENT HILL, and Olyphant is more than capable of being our leading man. Panabaker is the subtle star, though, and her fate is easily the film’s most tragic even if it proves accidentally necessary. Anderson mostly coasts through providing comic relief before becoming vital – and vitally good – in the last act of the film.

While THE CRAZIES is a movie that both rewards repeat viewing and justifies a sequel, it is probably a good thing that a sequel with the surviving characters never was made. This remake is a classic first-film that could spawn unnecessary sequels which mirror, but cannot ever rekindle, the greatness of the first.



Awesome music throughout: from the opening Johnny Cash number to the understated score. Great stuff


FINAL SCORE: 7.75 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on April 8, 2015.

5 Responses to “johnlink re-ranks THE CRAZIES (2010)”

  1. I really enjoyed this film too. Great review! I love your scoring system. very thorough.

  2. This movie is all kinds of awesome and so was (is) Justified. Have you ever seen Deadwood??

  3. A neat idea that, surprisingly, gets worked quite well throughout. Nice review John.

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