Supporting good-guy roles in horror movies are notoriously thankless: you generally get to hang around and make wisecracks until it's your turn to kick it so that the actual heroes can live to fight another day. The biggest surprise in The Crazies, Breck Eisner's remake of the 1973 low-budget classic by George A. Romero, is that its highlight turns out to be not the murderous pseudo-zombies or Eisner's many horror set pieces, but the dude who plays the affable sheriff's deputy. The movie isn't actually bad, per se, just been-there-done-that tiresome in a way that makes the 101-minute running time seem quite a bit longer. What almost saves it is a surprising attention to detail, much of which is embodied in Joe Anderson's unexpectedly touching performance as the unassuming -- but increasingly crucial -- Deputy Russell Clark.

To this point, Anderson hadn't made much of an impression in his short career. I vaguely remember him in The Ruins, playing another supporting character fated for a quick death. The IMDb informs me that he was also in Control, which I loved, and Across the Universe, which I did not, but I'll be damned if I can recall his role in either.