CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
‘The Crazies’ Defies Rule That Horror Remakes Never Work
CHICAGO – Horror remakes are almost never a good idea but there seems to be something about George A. Romero’s work that defies that expectation. Zack Snyder delivered with his version of “Dawn of the Dead” and now Breck Eisner has shocked genre fans with his effective take on the low budget classic “The Crazies”.
Eisner wisely keeps his “Crazies” simple, refusing to bastardize the simple structure of Romero’s film with too much back story or detailed explanation of the chaos in Ogden Marsh. Yes, some of Romero’s social and political context is lost but the driving pace of his best work is the clear focus of the production of this version of “The Crazies”. Eisner and writers Scott Kosar and Ray Wright wisely recognize that we don’t need complex back stories or detailed explanations; we just want to strap in and ride the rollercoaster and, on those terms, “The Crazies” delivers.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Crazies” in our reviews section.|
“The Crazies” lives up to its title from the opening scene. Practically the entire town of Ogden Marsh is attending a baseball game when a local farmer wanders into right field with a shotgun. Officer David Dutton (a very well-cast Timothy Olyphant) takes him down with a single shot but it’s just the beginning. The next night one of the patients of David’s doctor wife Judy (Radha Mitchell) locks his spouse and child in a closet and sets the house on fire. When the cops get there, he’s whistling a happy tune.
Before anyone can catch their breath, the military descends on Ogden Marsh and begins an intense containment protocol, one that cuts the entire town off with no forms of communication or transportation. David and Judy are separated along with the rest of the town into the well and the sick (of which they think Judy belongs due to a raised temperature from her being pregnant). Before long, David and Judy have reunited and must band together with David’s deputy (Joe Anderson) and Judy’s co-worker (Danielle Panabaker) against both their neighbors and the military.
Photo credit: Overture Films