Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Crush

Dir. John V Soto & Jeffrey Gerritsen
Year: 2009
Aus Rating: M
Running Time: 77mins

In my effort to review Australian films whenever I can, I sometimes come across a movie that just defies belief. How, in 2009, did Crush happen? It's not 1982 anymore and just like Prey (read about that one here) it is just so fantastical that it's hard to believe anybody thought they were making a movie that legitimate paying audiences would go and see.

Buried within the plot of Crush is a Fatal Attraction via Obsessed by way of The Crush (that Alicia Silverstone movie from the early 1990s if you remember it). Unfortunately it doesn't have the bravado of the former or the campness of the latter titles. I am actually not making it up when I say Crush - the directorial debuts of John V Soto and Jeffrey Gerritsen - is about an American taekwondo champion who now lives in Perth, WA, who works as a house sitter and becomes entangled with a babe who has supernatural powers. I am not joking. That is the plot of a movie released in 2009. Unfortunately, unlike Prey, Crush doesn't have a sense of humour, so when a character starts having sex with a corpse it's icky and not hilarious. There's a fine line there, folks!

Crush stars Christopher Egan, formerly of Home & Away, and he spends only a small portion of the running time sans shirt. Needless to say, what good is gonna do with a shirt on? His American accent is poor and it comes and goes at the drop of a hat. The big misfire of the film, however, is Emma Lung. I'm not sure what forced her to take this role other than the necessity to pay her rent. Lung is a sublime actress and has demonstrated that in films such as Peaches, Stranded and The Jammed, but here she is nothing more than a .5-dimensional babe-in-a-bikini. To make it worse, by the time her character's true evil starts to show it is just not fun. Not as deranged as Glenn Close, nor as absurd as Ali Larter. The rest of the film is filled with people you've never heard of, so no point going there.

John V Soto appears to have decided that he is the next Everett De Roche, saviour of Australian genre flicks. He wrote Prey as well as Crush and has co-directing honours on it too. Somebody within the wheelhouse likes him, but if he wants to bring genre back to Aussie audiences he's going to have to do a lot more than the meagre offerings on offer here. Even when De Roche's work was bad (I'm looking at your Harlequin!) it was original. When he was good it was Patrick and Road Games, which are classic cinema that trade on more than just cheap scares.

Crush looks pretty, that's for sure, although for a movie filmed in Perth they haven't exactly gone out of their way to incorporate that into the movie. I guess Perth suburbs are the same as Sydney suburbs then? A boring and repetitive soundtrack, filled with rock songs (and one incredibly miscast Silverchair number) that would've played at a backyard BBQ 10 years ago, as well as a flat and uninspiring direction make Crush a major disappointment. I really wanted to enjoy this as a hilarious, B-grade effort. It should have been hysterical when Egan accidentally hits himself with a hockey bat, but it's not particularly. When Lung says ridiculous dialogue like "my body is dead, but my soul isn't" I should have been howling, but it's actually just silly. Now if she's fired laser beams from her eyes and made a Ming vase explode I may have jumped on board! Too much taekwondo and not enough pop divas being punched in the face, I say! D-


David said...

This sounds horrible Glenn, I noticed it had a cinema release date at the start of the year which kept being pushed back and back. No wonder! With all the great local product this year I guess the not so excellent stuff keeps us well and truly grounded.

The worst Australian film I've caught up with of late was Monkey Puzzle, but this sounds infintely worse.

Glenn Dunks said...

Oh, this is definitely worse than Monkey Puzzle.

Michael said...

I agree with this. I knew it was going to be less than fantastic, but really... the dialogue, the acting, was all horrible.

Not to mention, I couldn't care less for any of the characters. And the final *scary* scene should have been at night during a storm or something, not during a beautiful day.


And Prey was also terrible. But I wasn't expecting much from a snake movie.

Octavia said...

I am watching this on Movie Extra now and I feel both violated and bored at the same time.

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