Coroner’s Report: The Crazies

The Coroner's ReportWhen The Crazies hit theaters this year, it resonated well with fans and critics alike, scoring good reviews and raking in almost $40 million domestically.  Many of us eagerly awaited a second trip to Ogden Marsh on home video and thankfully, that day has arrived with this Romero-remake available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

The Crazies is a retelling of the 1973 original and follows Sheriff Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) as he, his wife, his deputy, and a family friend try to escape a military spawned virus that is turning the inhabitants of their small town into blood-thirst killing machines.


Let the bodies hit the floor! There are at least 24 on-screen kills, with at least nine off-screen kills that we see the bodies of. That doesn’t include all the off-screen kills that we don’t see the remains of, which is easily into the hundreds before the final scene plays out – a final scene that could send the tally even higher.


Many of the kills are from gunshots, to the head, chest, and anywhere else a bullet shouldn’t go.  A couple of people are burned to death, a guy gets his mouth and eyes sewn shut, a hand and a throat are stabbed, someone is hanged, and perhaps the most memorable kills involve a pitchfork to the gut.


Nothing here for the monster in your pocket.


The government totally sucks.


Though it’s not actually saying that much, The Crazies is an early front-runner for Best Horror Movie of 2010.  The film is beautifully shot and looks pristine in 1080p on the Blu-ray.  We Rejects are continuing our love affair with Timothy Olyphant, who is cool and in control as Sheriff Dutton.

Joe Anderson as Deputy Russell manages to steal a bunch of scenes from Olyphant though, and is a cool character himself.  The film has some jump scares, but mostly manages to creep you out with the things the Crazies themselves are willing to do. While the end of the film focuses more on the Crazies as monsters, early on they’re more like demented people, happy to whistle a little tune and mow the grass while their families burn.  To me, that’s when they’re at their scariest. Though when a 6′ 230lb psycho infected comes barreling down on you, you’d find that plenty scary.

While overall an entertaining and gripping trek through the madness, The Crazies isn’t perfect. For me, I had some problems with the development of the disease.  Many of the infected are exposed through water early on and develop into crazed people rather quickly, though one fairly important character (will try not to spoil) is infected and it takes a very long time for him to succumb to the sickness.  It’s strongly implied he was infected through the water and thus would have been among the first exposed, yet he is one of the absolute last to turn.

Olyphant’s Dutton is exposed directly to infected blood, like, cut your hand open and smear infected blood into it. That seems like a pretty safe bet to transfer the illness from one person to another, yet he comes out fine.  With the characters begin to quibble amongst themselves and the first seeds of suspicion are planted among them, I felt the film could have taken a smarter direction – one towards the mental anguish of the situation – but it plays it normal and it’s not a psychosis settling it, it’s just the virus.

That said, The Crazies is will filmed, well acted, and one of the better horror films, if not the best, of the year.  You’d do well to spend 90 minutes with it.  If you’re looking for me, the Blu-ray, while being pristine in picture and sound, also comes with some cool extras including a commentary track, a behind the scenes feature, two motion comics, a storyboard animatic, a digital copy of the film and a few short featurettes. A worthy addition to any collection.

Robert Fure is many things: horror expert, ruggedly handsome man of the world, witty prose composer, and writer of his own biography page. Beneath the bravado is a scared little boy, ready to grow into an awesome man and make lies about a scared little boy inside of him. Wait a minute...

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