I feel bad labeling this a crappy horror movie, because it isn’t really. It has no real dull patches or obviously bad bits, there are just too few good moments or scenes. This is actually a prime example of all the good moments being crammed into a trailer to make it look suspenseful and appealing, only when you see the film there is 95 minutes of padding around them.
In the sleepy rural town of Ogden Marsh not much goes on.
It is opening day for the local baseball season and most of the town turns out to support the players, a local gent walks menacingly onto the outfield and towards the players, I say menacingly because he is carrying a big fucking shotgun.
The town sheriff David, played by Timothy Olyphant makes a snap decision and rushes onto the field to cut him off at the pass. After a brief but tense failed negotiation it is obvious that the man is not altogether feeling himself, and no he will not drop the gun, when he raises the barrel upwards…
In the aftermath of a big event in a small town it is widely assumed that the gent was drunk, this is quickly proven incorrect, leading David to second guess his actions with his wife, local Doc Judy, played by Rahda Mitchell, who tries to comfort him by telling him he did the right thing.
So that’s that then you might think? Of course not, that evening a patient of Judy’s has his own Mel Gibson moment and burns down his own home, complete with his wife and kid inside. Instead of running away the man simply waits for everyone to show up while he watches the results of his actions. The affected all appear crystal clear and calm. They move deliberately but purposefully and don’t say a great deal or make much noise.
Initially that is…
In the following days a body is found with a parachute strapped to him, the ensuing search leads David and his deputy Russell to a large plane submerged in the local river. After joining 2 and 2 together David approaches the mayor to suggest that the town shut off the water supply, as it is fed directly by the river. No dice says the mayor, but as it turns out it was too late anyway.
David goes back to town to find the place seemingly deserted, to make matters worse communications to the outside world are also shut off. It also appears someone is watching. That “someone” is the army, they summarily round up everyone in the town and without explanation quarantine them, separating them into two distinct groups. David and Judy are separated and Judy is taken away, David and the rest are evacuated elsewhere. Being the good husband, and knowing he wouldn’t hear the end of it if he didn’t go get her, David goes back to find Judy and runs into Russell. Together they manage to locate Judy moments before she is given a righteous forking, and off they go.
Once back in town it seems that society has gone to heck in a handbasket, the survivors they come across aren’t the most sociable types, and other rednecks are getting their kicks by hunting people down and taking “trophies”. If that don’t just beat all the troops are still around picking up (off?) strays.
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So for the remainder of the film David, Judy and Russell, and a fluctuating number of travelling companions set off through the town to escape whatever is happening.
In such a stressful situation just to make matters worse none of them know if they or their buddies are infected, as the initial symptoms are reasonably innocent.
So that of course understandably brings a certain level of paranoia:
– Who is infected?
– Who is just coughing?
– Am I paranoid or are you just unusually focussed?
– Are you pointing that gun past me or at me?
I’ve said it before, this isn’t a bad flick, in many ways it reminded me of The Mist, a solid premise with a couple of OK scenes but nothing too memorable, but The Mist at least had a solid ending, The Crazies stumbles near the end, almost wondering how to wrap things up before meandering to a “meh” conclusion.
So in honour of that…
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. It isn’t really crappy, but too much of not enough can’t be called Worthwhile. (I consider myself firm but fair.)