(Breck Eisner, 2010)
A blandified, more formulaic remake of George Romero's ferocious anti-establishment 1973 horror-satire of the same name, The Crazies is a surprisingly effective b-movie shocker. The theme Romero hammered in his version - that a terrifying strain of biological weapon infecting the population and making them murderous psychotics only leads to an even worse response from the Government and military, who instantly begin exterminating innocents throwing the very title of the film into question as in; who are the Crazies here? - just about survives the translation, if only implicitly, since the film follows the same curve. Romero depicted the politicians and Generals as they tried to contain the problem but Eisner's version is more focused on the affected small town.
This version is aided immeasurably by two leads who lend it instant class and more substance than one might expect; Timothy Olyphant has an old-fashioned politeness to his machismo, while Radha Mitchell is a fine, powerful actress here reduced to the usual catalogue of screams and rictuses. Their relationship is the main point of emotional contact for an audience, and the film gets that much right.
It also gets many of it's set-pieces right; they are unoriginal and mainly utterly predictable, but the mechanics are well-achieved, the scares efficient. Eisner directs with a slightly anonymous ease, his storytelling strong throughout.