The Hawkeye state, birthplace of my bride, isn’t usually in the forefront when it comes to horror movies. But in The Crazies (2010), a remake of George Romero’s 1973 film, Iowa is where we find ourselves, and yeah, the maniacs are all over the cornfields.
FEAR THY NEIGHBOR
With that tagline we find ourselves in Ogden Marsh, “friendliest place on Earth,” not far from Cedar Rapids—my bride’s hometown. Unknown to the residents a military plane carrying “Trixie,” a virulent biological weapon, has crashed in a nearby swamp. The escaping virus has infected the town’s water supply, and in forty-eight hours—its incubation period—it turns those who drink it into depraved murderers.
Local sheriff David Dutten is watching a high school baseball game when harmless town drunk Rory, looking spaced out, walks onto the field carrying a shotgun. David tries to talk him down but is forced to shoot him dead when he raises the weapon.
Judy Dutten, the sheriff’s wife, is the town’s doctor. She begins to notice bizarre behavior from a few of her patients. A local farmer that Judy had seen earlier in the day goes home, locks his wife and son in a closet, and burns the house down.
David and his deputy, Russell Clank, discover the downed plane, along with the pilot’s body. Suspecting that contaminated water is causing the strange behavior in his town, David tries to have the supply turned off. The asshole mayor refuses his request.
SURPRISE—A GOVERNMENT COVER-UP
All phone lines and cell services in town are suddenly cut off. David tells Judy, who is pregnant, to leave Ogden Marsh and go to her parents’ house, but she insists on staying with him. Heavily armed soldiers in biohazard suits show up and evacuate them to a quarantine facility at the high school, where they are examined for infection. Judy fails the test (she’s not infected—it’s her pregnancy) and is taken away.
David escapes the facility and heads for his office, where he encounters Russell, his deputy. He wants to go back to the school and rescue Judy. Ogden Marsh looks like a war zone, fires burning everywhere, infected folks (the Crazies) killing anyone they can, the soldiers gunning down Crazies and normal people alike.
Judy awakens to find herself strapped to a gurney, like many other supposedly infected townsfolk around her. In one of the film’s most memorable—and gross—scenes, an infected guy with a huge pitchfork shows up and begins impaling all of the helpless people. David and Russell show up in time to kill the maniac and save Judy, as well as her office assistant, a young woman named Becca.
TIME TO GO—YA THINK?
David knows that the four of them need to get out of Ogden Marsh, their goal to reach Cedar Rapids. But all of the vehicles they see have either been burned or locked down with tire clamps. David has been repairing an old car in his barn, so they head for his house. On the way, Becca insists they stop at her boyfriend Scotty’s house to see if he is okay. Scotty and his mother are not infected, but that doesn’t matter to the soldiers who show up, gun them down and burn their bodies. David manages to capture one of the soldiers, who says that they’ve been ordered to shoot down all civilians, sick or not.
As the group reaches David and Judy’s house and begins working on the old car, Judy goes upstairs to what would have been her newborn baby’s nursery. She is ambushed by the wife and son of Rory, the man that her husband killed. They are both infected. Russell saves her, but it appears that he too is going off the deep end as he shoots the two Crazies multiple times even after they’re dead. Judy voices her concerns about him to David.
With the car now roadworthy the four survivors embark on a dangerous journey to reach the more heavily populated area of Cedar Rapids. There is a lot left to come, but I’ll leave you here with no spoiler alert. All I will say is that there are some major shocking revelations ahead. The Crazies did well at the box office, and even more surprising—for a horror film—it resonated with the critics.
One last word: since I picked on my bride’s place of origin here, I will reciprocate in next week’s post with some demonic doings in my own hometown: The Bronx.