The Crazies

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: George Romero

REVIEWED: 12-22-97

A military plane carrying biological warfare agents crashes near the fictitious Evans City, Pennsylvania. The virus gets into the town's water supply and has two effects on the infected: death or irreversible insanity. The military moves in to contain the situation, and things rapidly get out of control. The local populace regards the Army as an invading force as they try to round up everyone and take them to the high school as a marshalling point. Soon the highly contagious virus infects the whole town and spreads to the soldiers as well, while a government scientist races to find an antidote. The Crazies features some great setpieces as the virus spreads... a little old lady smiles sweetly and stabs a soldier to death with a knitting needle. A young woman sweeps with a broom while soldiers and locals have a bloody firefight around her. A soldier swings his rifle wildly at his comrades until they shoot him. Made in the shadow of both Vietnam and Watergate, The Crazies contains plenty of allegory; an invasion by military force, government cover-up and duplicity, madness and eventual genocide. Scenes with the president show only the back of his head as he speaks in detached tones. Like Night of the Living Dead, The Crazies offers no hope, no comfort and sure as hell no happy ending. Romero himself has a somewhat gassy role as Evans City's mayor.

Other Films by George Romero
The Affair

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