Who are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood? It’s the people you “fear” each day!
Participant Media in association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Overture Films present…
In a fictionalized town named Ogden Marsh, Iowa, a peaceful place with a population of 1,260. A Sheriff driving his patrol car, a man committed to his job and getting an unpaid coffee, a perk not given even for an officer of the law. The crowded stadium is shown while a baseball game commences, he’s rooting for the Pitcher while applause continues to pour in and suddenly a man out of nowhere shows up with a shotgun…
Director Breck Eisner (Sahara) brings a George Romero classic to the big screen once more as a remake of the 1973 film in the same title. He was able to instill the sense of overbearing dread and uses it well to compensate the lack of dialogue especially for the remaining protagonists. I have to say the story was well written and executed with the subtleties of inducing human nature at its worst. Breck focused on the details making it relevant and relatable to watch and experience considering that he had no box-office superstars to play his characters.
The lethargic Timothy Olyphant (Hitman) as Sheriff David Dutten while his wife Radha Mitchell (Silent Hill) portrays Judy the town’s resident Doctor. Their on-screen chemistry seemed genuine with enough conviction with their responsibility to their town, being a couple and what is yet about to come! Radha was never new to films with horror as its template, playing one of those “assumed” for being contaminated she still give her condition a fighting chance while Tim makes the most of his investigative skills with the help of his always over eager but reliable Deputy Russell played by Joe Anderson (The Ruins) and find an answer to all of this “madness”!
The film shies away from the zombie genre and to give it synergy of a disease related premise plus add the horrific tendencies of these mindless hosts and you’ll get this chaotic merriment of epic proportions! I like the way they approached the set up, some levity on the season since its Spring already and people were having a good time in a sunny day when suddenly tension becomes to build for a yet still unknown reason. You could feel the rousing forlorn of grief scheming its way to the residents while the antagonist slowly creeps out of its dark corner.
Writers Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) together with Ray Wright (Case 39) and George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead) himself! The trio brought a unique take on an outbreak that actually spread through the water supply wherein a cargo plane en route to Texas was carrying a prototype biological weapon named “Trixie” based on “Rhabdoviridae” a virus referred to in taxonomy as an order of “Mononegavirales” which is related to the likes of Ebola, Mumps, Measles and Rabies viruses!
There was no need to exaggerate the means of terrifying the audience; shooting silhouettes from swaying trees, weird scenarios or someone will grab you unexpectedly and slowly paced cameras panning on corners or hallways. It will come out eventually and you don’t have to wait long for you to feel the ramifications brought upon this neighborhood! It was like a cancer that slowly grew little by little until the manifestation showed its ugly side (no pun intended)! There is the tension in the air, you could see how it progresses while the Director gives you clues on why this is happening. Concomitant to situations that inches it way to bring about the chaotic visceral nature of these infected hosts though mistaken for being “zombies” they are not, they are affected by a pathogen in their contaminated water, they don’t eat human flesh or brains for that matter but they will kill either by being provoked or simply through their deranged insanity!
Other contributing factors to make the film surreal are music from Award Winning Mark Isham (The Mist) with Almost Human Studios taking care of the prosthetics and make-up while Robert Green Hall (Quarantine 2) provides the SFX to sum up this nail biting epidemic! I do have a penchant for the supernatural but these films keep bringing engaging stories that will keep you coming back for more especially with the zombie genre or anything related with a disease that spreads in the population, if you watched this one might as well follow “The Walking Dead” its better off than the recent vampire television series’ as of late!
Another commendation given for this film was they were able to win the “People’s Choice Awards” for “Favorite Horror Movie” of that year considering with its plot and marketing which even states “Fear thy Neighbor” on its theatrical posters! Speaking of which, it may give resolute fear on the follow through since there is only one town to focus on but primarily what does the underlying cause made all these things come into fruition? You’re getting warmer, if you guess it’s the Government you are absolutely in the right direction! How do these people with clandestine purposes explain their actions and come up with these “monstrosities” let alone the assigned personnel who enforce these protocols maybe we can ask the descendant of the Vanderbilts’ Mr. Olyphant himself.
It was great, the ending even gave a hint on a sequel and I can’t wait as this “eye in the sky” monitors the last two remaining survivors and will execute its next programming. Talk about “Terminator” meets “Eagle Eye” for crying out loud.
Happy trails David and Judy…