The Crazies Breck Eisner

The Crazies Breck Eisner
Here's a case of a remake gone right. Admittedly, I haven't seen George A. Romero's original, but Breck Eisner's The Crazies, while not flawless, is an effective horror thriller. Set in the idyllic farming town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, it doesn't take long for the picturesque American community to start showing sinister cracks. Timothy Olyphant (Deadwood) excels in another law enforcement role as Sheriff David Dutten. He's the first person to notice something amiss after being forced to gun down a former town drunk in the middle of a baseball game. Further instances of burgeoning insanity amongst the town residents lead Dutten on an investigation that reveals a water supply tainted by a mysterious plane crash, and that's when all hell starts to break loose. Dutten and his wife (played by a solid Radha Mitchell) team up with a couple other survivors to escape the town and surrounding hot zone teeming with crazies and black-ops soldiers trying to contain the outbreak. Danielle Panabaker and especially Joe Anderson as fellow survivors are strong dramatic counterparts to Olyphant and Mitchell's dedicated family unit, and welcome wildcards to their survival. Carefully measured pacing provides creepy, slow burning tension between horrific scenes of disturbingly cold and calculated, brutal violence. Eisner displays a skilful understanding of what audiences expect and what needs to happen in order to advance the plot and engineer valid scares. For every scene where a jolt is telegraphed, there's a red herring followed by a surprise jab to keep viewers on their toes, maintaining exhilarating menace throughout. A "Behind the Scenes" feature starts off a little dull, padded with clips, but leads into a thorough look at the filming process with the cast and crew. "Paranormal Pandemics" explains the real world basis for the look of the infections and "The Romero Template" has a couple of horror critics geeking-out over George A.'s forward thinking mastery. Most fascinating is an awesomely detailed look at make-up artist Rob Hall applying his craft to one of the film's most visible crazies. Also included: VFX composite shot breakdowns, a behind-the-scenes photo gallery and DVD-Rom storyboard and script. (Alliance)