IF YOU'RE GOING TO SEE one remake of a 1970s horror flick this year... no seriously, you could do so much worse than The Crazies. It's a remake of George A. Romero's 1973 film of the same name, in which a town loses its shit after the military accidentally releases a sanity-shaking toxin into the water supply. I haven't seen the original, so please don't ask me how it stacks up—but I can tell you that this one is scary.
In small town Iowa, Sheriff David Dutton (Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant, who apparently enjoys playing scowling sheriffs) keeps the peace, while his wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) keeps everyone healthy as the town's doctor. However, they're both at a loss when their neighbors and friends start to get a bad case of the thousand-yard stare, which is then followed by a yearning to shoot and stab things. David eventually susses out that a very large plane, carrying a very large amount of biological yuckiness, has crashed in the town's water supply—and now everyone's setting fire to their children. The military sweeps in to contain the town, which totally does not go well for the folksy townspeople.
The Crazies is at its most terrifying when chronicling the downward spiral of the tight-knit community as friends, family, and neighbors turn into dead-eyed, sociopathic strangers. But even when the film moves into martial law and then apocalyptic survival mode, it still manages to be suspenseful and jumpy (just wait 'til you see the truly great car wash scene). Obviously, The Crazies started with the solid foundation of a Romero zombie story, but it's only enhanced with an excellent cast, grotesque monsters, and the feeling that the zombie Armageddon is going to be a lot scarier than I was initially led to believe.