A shotgun-toting farmer wanders on to the field in the middle of the high school’s opening baseball game. He looks blank, confused, and his nose is bleeding. When the man takes aim, the local sheriff takes him out with a well-placed bullet in front of the whole community. This is the first sign that something is amiss, as others quickly fall victim to the same “craziness” over a period of two days.
David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant) is the Sheriff of Ogden Marsh - a small Iowa town. He notices that some of its residents are suddenly exhibiting signs of unusual behavior. They stare off into space, and then become violent. Another farmer sets his house on fire while his wife and son are still inside. The firemen find him mowing the lawn while the fire rages. Some hunters find a body of someone who parachuted into the marshes, which leads to the sheriff finding a crashed plane that may have leaked a bio-weapon in the town’s water supply.
A satellite camera is zooming in on the activities of Ogden Marsh, population 1260 people. Soon, the town is taken over by military types in hazmat suits who want to bury the problem by gathering all the residents at the HS football field. They sort them quickly by separating anyone with an elevated temperature. They grab the sheriff’s wife, Judy, (Radha Mitchell) who is a doctor and may have a slight temperature because she is pregnant. The military strap her on a gurney with others residents while the men in protective gear and gas masks wait for the infection to set in and run tests. Meanwhile, the sheriff is being put on another bus to be processed and he manages to slip away so he can return and save his wife. Someone crashes into the containment area and all hell breaks loose as the military start shooting the locals while they escape. They are considered “the crazies” - infected people overtaken with an insanity that turns them into a murderous horde. The military pull out immediately as the area has been compromised.
This gives the Sheriff, his wife, Deputy Russell (Joe Anderson), and medical office assistant Becca (Danielle Panabaker) a chance to escape. They must try and make their way through the open farmland while avoiding the military and the wandering crazies. Their aim is to get to Cedar Rapids which is the biggest city in the area. Their traumatic adventures cause them to become stressed and jumpy. Are they going crazy too?
Breck Eisner (Sahara) directed this action packed remake of George A. Romero’s 1973 film, originally called Code Name: Trixie. The title was changed to The Crazies for home video. Remakes of movies don’t always work. But in this case, Romero’s original flick is not as well known so comparisons are not bound to distract. The 2010 version has characters that are personable and react like “real” people. They are not running around making boneheaded moves that make no sense. You care about what happens to them, so you are invested in the outcome. Just try not to think too hard or over-analyze why “the crazies” have differing levels of cognizance. Some are talking and responding and some are just staring. Or why some are infected and some are not. It’s just not as important as watching them trying to make it through the night and survive. Just stay during the credits to see if the governments’ ultimate solution did the job. (Review by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)