Susan Arendt’s Horror Picks: The Crazies
Let me kick off your weekend with another horror movie recommendation. Today we have The Crazies (2010).
I must admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for any movie that successfully twists a worn-out trope. In the case of The Crazies, it’s zombies. The afflicted folks aren’t shambling undead, or anything, but the movie does create an “us vs. the entire freakin’ town” scenario that is very common to the zombie genre. Set in a small town without resorting to stereotypical aw, shucks, ain’t that quaint moments (that can be tough for viewers from more urban locations to relate to), The Crazies delivers its premise in a way that makes it feel utterly plausible. Without spoiling too much, something is making the residents of a small town in Iowa slowly go berserk, and the results are less than pleasant. The pacing is absolutely perfect, letting you get to know this town just in time to watch it devolve into chaos as the sheriff, played with languid ease by Tim Olyphant, at first tries to save the whole town, and then simply tries to survive. (Also, really, you should take any opportunity to watch Tim Olyphant walk around in boots and a badge. It’s why he’s on this earth.)
It’s the same basic setup as a bazillion zombie movies, but there’s a lot more thought and care in The Crazies, because its horde isn’t mindless – the enemies can think, react, and plan, which makes escaping them much more difficult. Time is also taken to develop many different characters, so that when they turn (so to speak) you actually feel something. There’s a fair bit of violence (including one bit with a knife that I have to turn away from), but it’s relatively low on the gore scale.