"The Crazies" is a wickedly effective horror movie, one that combines the best elements of two time-honored genres - the zombie film, and the "the government will do anything it can to save its ass, including dispense with a bunch of its citizens" film. Actually, I'm not sure if that last one is a genre, but you get the idea.
You can summarize the plot in a short paragraph - the good folks of a small town in Iowa begin acting crazy - really, really crazy - and get this overwhelming desire to kill their friends and loved ones, in some really creative and disgusting ways. It turns out that something in the water is causing all of this mania, and of course it was the government's fault. So as the government is wont to do in such situations, they send in the troops, to put a lid on things. Just one problem - this brew is a little too combustible to keep contained.
Throughout the film, we follow our hero and heroine, the town's sheriff and doctor (who also happen to be the best looking couple in town), as they try against all odds (and crazies) to find their way out of town. Nail-biting doesn't quite cover it - on several occasions, I was reduced to peeking through my hands, because I wasn't sure if I really wanted to see what might happen. However, having said that, the film really does - with a couple of notable exceptions - go out of its way to avoid showing the gore.
The acting is good; in particular I want to single out Timothy Olyphant, as the sheriff. I'd read good things about his appearances in "Deadwood" and now "Justified," but let me tell you, this guy is the real deal. From the moment he appears on the screen, he just commands it. If he doesn't become a huge, huge star, then there is no justice in the world.
"The Crazies" - definitely worth your time.