George Romero’s original ‘The Crazies’ was a prime slice of raw mid-’70s exploitation schlock: scruffy, violent and politically edgy. Breck Eisner’s remake is slicker, prettier and dumber, but not entirely without merit. The cast is very strong: Timothy Olyphant exudes old-fashioned tough-guy charm as the small town sheriff whose constituents begin falling prey to a disease which turns them into bloodthirsty zombies, while Radha Mitchell provides credible if thankless support as his wife. There’s also an impressively high-strung turn from Joe Anderson (Peter Hook in ‘Control’) as a redneck cop on the brink.
But the film feels choppy and roughly edited, as though its makers were so keen to keep it short that they hacked out any scares, atmosphere or sense of impending dread. There’s too much story and key details are absent or underexplained. Though far from unwatchable, ‘The Crazies’ feels like a missed opportunity.