(director: Breck Eisner; screenwriters: Ray Wright/Scott Kosar/based on the film by George A. Romero; cinematographer: Maxime Alexandre; editor: Billy Fox; music: Mark Isham; cast: Timothy Olyphant (Sheriff David Dutton), Radha Mitchell (Dr. Judy Dutton), Joe Anderson (Russell Clank), Danielle Panabaker (Becca Darling), John Aylward (Mayor Hobbs); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Michael Aguilar/Dean Georgaris/Rob Cowan; Overture Films; 2010)

A bland and uninspiring remake of the 1973 George Romero’s original.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A bland and uninspiring remake of the 1973 George Romero’s original ‘The Crazies’ is directed by Breck Eisner (“Sahara,” one of Hollywood’s biggest critical and BO flops of the last few years), as a slicker and dumber zombie tale. He’s the son of the former Disney head Michael Eisner. It’s written by Ray Wright and Scott Kosar, who keep it humorless, apolitical (never getting their hands dirty trying to explain an obvious political situation) and much too darkly serious for its own good. The execution of this B film is clunky, the scares are minimal despite the gore and there are too many missed opportunities to say something meaningful, but even worse is that the plot lays there without an explanation for the sudden appearance in the first scene of the bloodthirsty zombies until the final minutes just prior to the climax. Even then the explanation for all this nonsense is nonsensical, as there are many details that could have been better explained.

In the friendly small-town farming community of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, the earnest sheriff, David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant), his dedicated pregnant town physician wife, Dr. Judy (Radha Mitchell), her assistant Becca (Danielle Panabaker) and, David’s loyal redneck deputy, Russell Clank (Joe Anderson, English actor), try to lead a small band of uninfected locals to safety in nearby Cedar Rapids while trying to fend off on their own the hostile masked army and attacking zombies. We learn eventually that the government accidentally released a bioengineered virus into the water supply that caused a violent insanity among those who come into contact with the airborne germ. The government’s response to their fatal screw-up is to have the military seal off the town in a quarantine and round-up everyone in order to eliminate them.

The fun is watching all the hearty law abiding citizens become violent zombies with blank stares and in the different ways they are killed off as they become dangerous. But I didn’t think that was fun, so I overreacted to this tedious zombie film in a negative way (I was upset that the zombies just didn’t look that terrifying, but more like cornfed farmers on a bad trip). It was just too inane, too familiar and too poorly conceived to have much of a cult upside.