Everything seems normal in the quaint town of Ogden Marsh. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) are busy maintaining order, while David's wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), and her assistant, Becca (Danielle Panabaker), are keeping everyone healthy at the local medical center. But that all changes when the townsfolk start to go crazy, literally. Those who were once friends and neighbors transform into violent bloody versions of their former selves with one goal in mind: kill.
This is the horror movie we've all been waiting for. As opposed to the most recent slasher releases, The Crazies doesn't rely on an overdose of blood and guts to give you a good scare. In fact, director Breck Eisner gracefully conceals what could have been extremely gory moments in favor of leaving the imagery to the imagination, ultimately making them far more frightening. Eisner also does away with the excess of cheap scares. The film's most terrifying moments are the ones that are the culmination of a marinating process. The scene is set, the characters are positioned and then the threat slowly creeps into the room leaving the viewer more than enough time to recognize and feel the sheer horror of the situation.
These two deadly enemies couldn't be nearly as dreadful if those they are terrorizing aren't genuinely petrified. David, Judy, Russell and Becca create the perfect combination of lone survivors to take viewers through the film. Olyphant makes a strong lead and emits a sense of comfort in the midst of the insanity. He's further softened by his clear devotion to his wife, Judy. Rather than resort to excessive screaming to express horror, Mitchell decides to do so by simply delivering a proper performance. A fantastic but modest dose of comedic relief comes from Anderson as Russell. He's there to deliver the standard sidekick one liners, but gets occasional and perfectly timed moments to shine. The most helpless of the bunch is Becca, and Panabaker's performance will rip your heart out. She's a teenager being forced to witness the extermination of her friends and family, the effect of which is visible through her cowardly tendencies
However, thanks to excellent execution, these faults are easily overlooked. Eisner has created a perfectly paced creepy movie with the power to scare the crap out of you, but permits you to retain your senses. Then, you're able to digest what just happened and recognize the sheer insanity of the situation making it exponentially more horrifying. Lastly, and most importantly, The Crazies is a terrifying blast. If you're looking for a good scare, The Crazies delivers big time and, as an added bonus, has a degree of sensibility and depth making it so much more than an average horror movie.