Review: The Crazies DVD

STUDIO: Overture/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Breck Eisner | CAST: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker
RELEASE DATE: 6/29/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, commentary, photo gallery, DVD-ROM features
SPECS: R | 101 min. | Horror | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

If you’re expecting a run-of-the-mill zombie film, The Crazies might just surprise you. Yes, this remake of the 1973 George Romero thriller has a virus running amok in an Iowa farm town, and yes, its victims do get ugly and tend to kill people in a grisly fashion, but as much as anything, this movie is about the soulless, militaristic isolation of the infected town. As director Breck Eisner states in his commentary track, the villain here is the military machine, not any individual, nor any virus-riddled killers. But don’t fear: a couple of suitably gory sequences involving sharp implements will satisfy the blood-lust of horror fans.

There’s another reason to check this out: Timothy Olyphant. Always fun to watch on screen, the edgy star brings needed gravitas to his role as the town sheriff (which he did to even greater effect in HBO’s Deadwood) trying to escape the quarantine with a small cadre of locals that includes his doctor wife (Radha Mitchell) and deputy sheriff (Joe Anderson). When every vehicle has been burned or booted, he must lead them on foot, and his deputy isn’t acting quite right…

Picture quality is very good for standard DVD, with good contrast and clarity in the many scenes set in darkness. And the 5.1-channel audio track, marked by a bass-rich score, lends much to the creepiness. Various beeps and braps of medical gear will even have you cocking your head looking for the source.

Aside from the director commentary, which is low-key but full of cool behind-the-scenes info, there are several short featurettes covering the making of the film, visual effects and make-up effects. Production designers note that since Eisner didn’t consider The Crazies a zombie movie, they eschewed the typical zombie look in favor of the ravaged look of real-life – albeit the most horrible – diseases. Other extras include a look back at the work of George Romero, and the first two parts of a Crazies “motion comic” with some back-story. (The others parts are available for download at iTunes.)


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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.