The Crazies

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      Starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell. Rated 18A. Opens Friday, February 26, at the Cinemark Tinseltown

      If you’ve never been particularly concerned about the safety of your drinking water, The Crazies might make you think again. It’s a rip-roaring, topnotch terror fest that’s sure to boost sales of Brita filters.

      Smalltown Iowa sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) is cheerfully mingling with citizens at the local ballpark when the carefree vibe is shattered by the sight of a shotgun-wielding resident striding in from left field. It’s a classic Stephen King moment—lethal, unexplained evil tainting pure, all-American goodness—and sets the tone for an engrossing portrait of a community devoured soul-first by the military-industrial complex. Ponder the ramifications of Dick Cheney being on the board of DuPont instead of Halliburton and you’ll get the idea.

      And, of course, it helps that there’s zombie action too.

      For the next 90 minutes, director Breck Eisner skillfully crafts a horror fan’s wet dream with his reinvention of George Romero’s 1973 film of the same name. A government plane loaded with biological weapons has crashed into a lake, poisoning the water supply and causing large portions of the nearby population to go violently insane before dying. When the order is given for military containment of the infected area, the chills ’n’ thrills come fast and furious.

      Watch the trailer for The Crazies.

      Armed with little more than their sidearms and a serious will to live, Dutton—along with his deputy (Joe Anderson), his doctor wife (Radha Mitchell), and her secretary (Danielle Panabaker)—must evade and/or engage both their zombiefied neighbours and the gas-masked U.S. marines. The ensuing action is feverish and nonstop and deftly paced by Mark Isham’s compellingly creepy score. Activism-minded moviegoers will welcome the second coming of Romero’s cautionary tale, but they’ll have to sit through one hell of a nasty pitchfork scene to get the message.