The Crazies (2010) Explained

An Average Movie-Goer’s Review

Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post

The Crazies (2010) Explained

I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.

Today we’re looking at 2010’s The Crazies a remake of the 1973 George A Romero film The Crazies

When a virus turns people in a small town in Iowa into violent killers, the town’s sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) attempts to lead a group out of the town safely.

Is The Crazies (2010) Scary?

The Crazies has some pretty good jump scares but just as many cheap ones that don’t feel earned. Luckily there are several tense scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat but overall, you won’t be too scared after watching The Crazies unless your phones and internet suddenly go out. That makes sense if you’ve seen the movie.

The Crazies Plot Summary:

The film opens with a quick scene of the small farming town of Ogden Marsh on fire. We flashback to 48 hours earlier and meet two of our main characters Doctor Judy Dutten (played by Radha Mitchell) and her assistant, high school student Becca (played by Daniella Panabaker). Becca attempts to lie to Judy by saying her aunt is in town so she has to leave work early. 

But everyone knows that Becca and Scotty are dating, and of course, Scotty wants Becca to be at the baseball game that afternoon, we’re all just wondering why Scotty and Becca are the only ones still lying to everyone including themselves about the relationship. Ugh. 

So anyway, Judy calls her out on her bullshit and lets her leave work early because Judy is a chill boss.

At the baseball game, we meet a few other main characters, Sheriff, and Judy’s husband, David Dutten (played by Timothy Olyphant), and his Deputy, Russell (played by Joe Anderson). David and Russell watch the game because apparently crime stops during baseball and notice someone walking onto the field from right field, carrying a shotgun.

David recognizes the man as the local drunk named Rory and tells the kids to get into the dugout as he approaches him. Rory appears confused but also in some sort of trance as David asks him to put the gun down. Instead, Rory points it at David who responds by putting his hand on his holster and demanding he put down the gun.

With the crowd watching, Rory raises the gun to fire and David immediately shoots him dead.

We zoom out and take on a military satellite’s view with text popping up showing Ogden Marsh Township has a population of 1,260, so the military is involved somehow. On that revelation, we get the title screen.

That night David meets with the Coroner and Mortician Jim (played by Frank Hoyt Taylor) who lets David know he’ll have the blood-alcohol test results by the morning. Rory’s wife and son, Peggy and Curt, arrive and Peggy angrily tells David that Rory stopped drinking two years ago. Believing that David has been telling people that Rory was drunk, she slaps him before leaving.

The next day after we find out that Judy is pregnant, David gets a call from Jim and is surprised to find out that Rory had a blood alcohol level of 0. Later at the clinic, Judy gets a visit from a concerned wife, Deardra, who asks her to check her husband, Bill, as he appears to be catatonic. 

Judy talk with Deardra about Bill who appears to be catatonic in 2010's The Crazies
“So you’re saying you don’t want him to stay like this?”

Judy runs a few tests and becomes concerned that Bill answers every question with the same line. Before she sends them home, Judy tells Deardra that she wants to send Bill for a CT scan on Monday, much to Deardra’s concern. Since the town is supposed to be on fire in 24 hours, I don’t think Bill is getting that CT Scan.

That night Deardra and her son Nicholas find Bill missing and hear the harvester running in the barn. Deardra tells Nicholas to stay in the house as she goes to confront Bill. 

Deardra confronts Bill in the barn in 2010's The Crazies
I feel like there’s a better place to stand if she wants to get Bill’s attention.

Deardra checks the front seat but finds it empty and after turning off the harvester, hears Nicholas scream from inside the house. Running back into the house, Deardra is unable to find him but he appears behind her and rushes her into a closet for both of them to hide. Inside the closet, Nicholas tells Deardra that Bill tried to attack him with a knife.

The two hear Bill’s footsteps walk by but Bill is well-aware they’re in the closet and locks them inside. We then see Bill spill gasoline all over the house and leads a trail outside where he lights it engulfing the house in fire. David is called to the scene and arrives with Judy who is told by the firefighters that Nicholas and Deardra died in the fire while Bill was found mowing the lawn.

Meanwhile, a trio of hunters discover a pilot’s body out in the marsh and alert David. David and Russell investigate and realize that if the pilot is there, the plane must have crashed nearby. Russell tells David one of the locals was spreading rumors of having heard something large having crashed in the lake and the two set off to investigate.

At the lake, the two find a large military plane submerged in the water as we zoom out into a military satellite’s viewpoint. The text “Initiate Containment Protocol” then appears on screen.

David realizes that a large enough plane going down and it not making the news means there’s a coverup. David and Russell then check the local water supply lines and discover the lake water feeds into the town’s drinking supply which hits Rory’s house first followed by Bill and Deardra’s. 

Believing the water is tainted, David asks the Mayor to shut off the town’s water but the Mayor refuses. David then does it himself because fuck da rules. Back at the station, Russell finds Bill in the holding cell bloody and unconscious on the ground. Before he can investigate, David stops him and tells him to wait.

In a jumpscare, a very infected Bill jumps up screaming and attempts to attack the two from behind the bars.

Bill as a Crazy attempts to attack Russell in 2010's The Crazies
I preferred when he was catatonic

When trying to make a call, David discovers all the phone lines are down and, even more troubling, discovers the internet and cell phone service is down all over town. David heads outside and finds the street appears to be deserted but spots a black van watching him from the end of the street. Attempting to run towards it, it peels off but not before we see it take several pictures of David.

Hearing glass breaking from Jim’s house/funeral home, David rushes inside and looks for Jim. In the mortuary, David finds the local reverend with his eyes and mouth sewn shut but still alive. An infected Jim appears from behind and attacks David with a small circular saw. After getting slightly cut in the shoulder David is able to pull the cord causing Jim to cut himself open. 

The dead Jim drops the saw which spins towards David, who is on the floor, but it’s stopped in time by Russell. Apparently, David forgot how to stand up.

Even my balls retracted during this scene

Later David tells Judy to pack up and leave but she refuses, stating that if the town is sick she, as the doctor, needs to help. The two argue but when Judy sees someone enter their garage, David goes out to investigate. Moments into entering the empty garage, David hears Judy scream and runs back out only to be swarmed by men in military gear.

David and Judy are put on a bus where others in the town have also been rounded up including Russell, who says they spike-trapped his car as he was heading out of town. The townspeople are taken to the local high school where the military, in hazmat suits, are separating people and pushing them through tents for processing. 

Russell has pulled away from the group as Judy and David are pushed further through the process. Judy deduces that since temperatures are being checked and because Rory and Bill were bleeding from the nose, there must be some kind of virus infecting people causing cerebral hemorrhaging. 

Judy’s temperature is discovered to be high and she is pulled away from David who fights back but, is knocked out by one of the guards. A short time later David wakes up on a truck with others who have been taken to a gas station on the outskirts of town. The military places wristbands on everyone and starts bussing people out of town, presumably, everyone allowed to leave has been deemed uninfected.

As a large number of people are being walked to the buses, David decides to go back into town to save Judy as he believes her high fever is due to her being pregnant. A truck passes by and David disappears because he’s apparently Batman now.

Back at the high school, Judy is restrained to a bed along with several others including Becca when alarms start to blare. Outside a group of infected with guns drive through the barriers and open fire on the military and other townspeople. A panic ensues and several, presumably all infected, break out down the fence and scatter in all directions.

More infected attack the military who refer to the infected as “crazies” and they decide to evacuate, leaving others like Judy and Becca restrained to their beds. At the sheriff’s office, David grabs a gun and regroups with Russell who escaped during the panic at the high school. 

Meanwhile back at the high school, an infected starts killing those restrained in beds with a pitchfork. As he is about to kill Becca Judy distracts him by screaming. The infected makes his way to Judy and raises his pitchfork but David arrives and shoots him in the chest. 

David, Judy, Becca, and Russell who is worried he is getting sick, escape the high school and start searching the town for a vehicle to use, unfortunately, every car they find is booted or destroyed. 

Russell, Becca, Judy, and David escape the school and enter the town in 2010's The Crazies
You know what? Not bad for Iowa

The group finds a truck that isn’t booted but discovers it belongs to infected hunters who are killing other townspeople for sport. After narrowly avoiding the hunters, the group decides their best bet is to walk 5 miles through the farms until they reach David’s garage where he has an old cruiser.

One of the farms the group cross belongs to Scotty’s family and Becca runs off searching for him. To her surprise, Scotty holds her and Russell at gunpoint unsure if he can trust they’re not infected. David gets the drop on him and unarms him as Scotty apologizes.

David hears the military approaching and orders everyone into the barn. Unfortunately, Scotty’s mom is in the house and when she is dragged out by the military, they discover she’s infected. Scotty runs out of the barn toward her while the rest of the group continues to hide. The soldiers immediately shoot and kill both Scotty and his mom, they also burn their bodies with a flamethrower which seems like overkill.

the military kill Scotty and his mom in 2010's The Crazies
Not necessary but you don’t turn down a chance to use a flamethrower

The military order a sweep of the area and one soldier heads into the barn. Russell and David grab him, unarm him, and remove his mask to question him. The soldier tells them they were only told there was an accident and had no idea what state they were in until they saw the license plates. 

Russell wants to kill him as he thinks he’ll rat them out but David lets him go. I’m assuming he does this because he doesn’t like being engulfed in flames with a flamethrower which would definitely happen if a dozen soldiers outside discover one of their soldiers missing. The soldier tells the rest of the soldiers the barn is clear and they all leave the area.

The following morning our group reach David and Judy’s home and while Russell and Becca get the car set up, David and Judy headed inside for supplies. Before leaving the house, Judy walks into the nursery they had built and doesn’t notice Rory’s infected wife, Peggy standing in the corner.

Always check your corners during a violent killer apocalypse

Wondering where Judy is, David enters the nursery and finds Judy tied to a chair but before he can react Curt, Rory’s son attacks him and attempts to strangle him. David falls to the ground and reaches for his dropped weapon but Peggy stabs him through the hand and takes the gun. 

Peggy aims the gun at Judy but David starts to taunt her about Rory’s death in order to force her to aim the gun at him. When she does, David smacks the gun away with his free hand, elbows Curt off of him, and stabs Peggy in the neck with the knife still embedded in his hand.

Peggy falls dead but Curt appears now holding the gun and for some reason hasn’t shot yet. People in this movie take a long time dramatically aim their shots. Because Curt takes so long to shoot, he is shot and killed by Russell who shoots him through the window.

Becca rushes upstairs to help untie Judy as Russell enters and shoots Peggy and Curt multiple times to ensure they are dead. The cruel way he does it and the fact he shot them multiple times hints that he is infected and slowly becoming a “crazy” though David is in denial that his friend is sick.

The group gets in the cruiser and head out of town but on the road they’re spotted by a military helicopter, forcing them to hide in a carwash. As they wait for the helicopter to pass by, the conveyor track of the carwash starts up pulling the car through. 

While the car gets covered in soap, several infected, who I guess work at the carwash and refuse to take a sick day, emerge and attack the group. Though the group successfully kills the infected, it’s not before one ties a tube around Becca’s neck and hangs her. The group cut her down as the car proceeds out of the carwash and is blown up by the military helicopter.

Okay but if Becca hadn’t died everyone would be dead so this kind of a win

With no other choice, Russel, David, and Judy continue walking along the road toward the next city. After some time the group comes upon Russell’s car which was spiked-trapped by the military the day before. While they search it for supplies, the group spot a black military SUV heading their way and David decides they’re going to steal it. 

Unfortunately, Russell has a different shitty plan and lays down a spike trap causing the SUV to crash and rollover. Russell rushes over to the car to kill the driver but David tells him he wants to talk to him first so it’s time for some exposition. 

I’m assuming the driver (played by Glenn Morshower) is an intelligence officer and I’m mostly assuming this because that’s what IMDB says. The officer tells the group that the plane that crashed was carrying a biological weapon known as Trixie, a Rhabdoviridae prototype and it was headed to an incinerator in Texas. Rhabdoviridae is a virus commonly associated with rabies so… whoopsie.

“Did you just say ‘whoopsie'”?

The officer tells them that the incubation period is 48 hours, and after that if they’re not sick, they don’t have it. David tells the officer that since they’re not sick he’s going to help them get out of the town but Russell, who is totally sick, shoots the officer in the head.

As Russell searches the car, David takes his weapon but Russell reveals another weapon and points at David. Disarming David, Russell demands he and Judy walk ahead of him so he can watch them. After some time David decides to attempt to talk to Russell and after getting him to lower his weapon, David punches him in the face so it was a productive conversation.

Russell apologetically asks to continue walking with them for a little while longer as he comes to terms with the fact that he is infected. That night the three spot a military checkpoint and hide in order to plan how to get around it. 

Russell decides he wants to sacrifice himself in order to distract the guards as he wants his unavoidable death to mean something. David regretfully allows him to do it and as Russell is killed by the guards, David and Judy successfully make it around them.

That was the fastest redemption arc I’ve ever seen

David and Judy arrive at the gas station where the uninfected were being bussed away the night before. David goes into the gas station store to investigate and finds a semi-truck they could use while Judy discovers that the uninfected weren’t bussed out, instead they were all killed.

After deciding to use the truck to escape the town, David gathers some supplies including water and a lighter while Judy doesn’t notice an infected watching her. Feels like deja-vu.

I’m going to need Judy to always be looking behind her

David hears a radio tuned into the military frequency which declares something happening in 10 minutes. Hint: It’s a nuke. Following the sounds of a second radio, David discovers the infected hunter’s truck is in the gas station which means the hunters are there somewhere as well. Suddenly the power goes out which is never a good sign.

Judy is able to avoid the hunters by hiding in a storage room where they have been keeping all the bodies. David then appears behind her in a jumpscare and the two rush to the semi-truck. Judy climbs in the truck with the gun as David grabs the keys but they’re ambushed by two of the infected hunters. 

Judy is able to shoot and kill one of the hunters while David spills oil on the other and lights him on fire. In a forced jumpscare, Judy helps David into the truck, and the two speed out of town. On the radio, the countdown reaches zero and Ogden Marsh is wiped off the map with a massive explosion. The force launches the semi-truck causing it to roll over and crash. 

David and Judy emerge from the crushed semi-truck battered and bruised but still alive as they look toward what once was their town.

You know, if you ignore all the deaths and their home being destroyed, this is kind of romantic.

A short time later we see the two arriving at the outskirts of Cedar Rapids. We zoom out and discover a satellite watching them and the film ends as the text “Initiate Containment Protocol” appears on screen.

Ah shit, here we go again

But wait there’s more!

In a mid-credits scene, a news report displays a reporter stating Ogden Marsh was destroyed in a chemical explosion and another explosion at a gas station. The news report is then interrupted by images of an infected attacking the screen.


The Crazies is great. The movie has great acting, good dialogue, the build-up and pacing keep you interested in what the hell is going on and you never feel like the movie is force-feeding you information. By the time you find out what is causing the infection you pretty much have it all figured out because of the plane and Rory’s progress in the jail cell.

For a horror movie, it has some great tense scenes and some effective creepy scenes like when David finds the reverend in the mortuary with his mouth and eyes sewn shut. There are a few more cheap jumpscares than I would have liked toward the end for example when David appears behind Judy while she hides from the hunters or when Judy extends her arm to help David onto the truck. There’s no reason for the dramatic jumpscare musical sting to be here other than to give a cheap jumpscare.

I couldn’t really find any logical holes in the plot except maybe that the satellite that we keep seeing is able to track David and Judy but the military still doesn’t find them. Other than that the movie makes sense within its own universe and there weren’t any glaring inconsistencies with character motivation. It’s just a well-told movie.

Overall I highly recommend giving The Crazies a watch.


Stuff to Ignore

Rotten Tomatoes – 71%

Metacritic – 56

Comments are closed.

Up ↑