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Crush (2013)

Millennium Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/9/2013

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted by 4/10/2013

In my recent review for Storage 24, I brought up the question of whether or not filmmakers strive for originality when they make a movie, and I still hope that the answer to the question is "Yes". (Although the cultural landscape would seem to suggest that this isn't the case.) The least that someone could do would be to take an older idea and place a new spin on it. I would guess that's what the makers of Crush thought that they were doing. They wanted to take a very familiar storyline and try to do something different with it. However, the result feels like more of the same.

Scott (Lucas Til) is a high school soccer star who has a very bright future until he hurts his knee at a party. However, he's determined to rehab his leg and get back out onto the field. He spends much of his time with Jules (Sarah Bolger), but sees her as just a friend. Bess (Crystal Reed) is one of Scott's classmates and she appears to be obsessed with him, as she stares at him in class and even takes his refuse from the trash can. Bess is friends with Jeffrey (Reid Ewing) who clearly wants to be more than friends, but Bess spurns his advances. Bess works at a comic book and record store with Andie (Caitriona Balfe) and David (Leigh Whannell), who try to give her relationship advice. All of these love triangles suddenly take a backseat to the fact that someone is stalking Scott and attacking his detractors or those who are close to him. As Scott begins to realize this, he starts to question the sanity of all of those around him, and Bess' odd behavior becomes more and more evident.

Kudos to Crush for having the nerve and the smarts to open with a shocking scene. It's nothing flamboyant or over the top. It's a small scene and you may turn to the person next you and, in a joking manner, predict what is going to happen and bam! the scene actually pulls the trigger on the last thing we expect to see. Unfortunately, Crush goes downhill from there. The film plays like a take on Fatal Attraction or more specifically Swimfan, where a high school athlete is pursued by an admirer. But, in both of those aforementioned films, the male and female share an intimate moment and the female becomes obsessed. Here, Scott is the seemingly innocent victim of a true stalking. (Crush was written by Sonny Mallhi, who also wrote The Roommate, which was a re-working of Single White Female.)

The movie decides to extrapolate on this idea by making it a mystery. It seems that everyone in the film has a reason to either be in love with or to dislike Scott, so it could be one of many people who is paying way too much attention to him. The problem with this is twofold. First, the movie doesn't really let us know that it's a mystery until near the end of the first act. The film is chock full of red herrings and it is clearly leading us down one path when it suddenly says, "Nope, whatever you think is happening ain't happening." This is followed by more and more misleading scenes where we see how everyone's lives entwine. The film's other problem is a doozy -- When the mystery is revealed, it doesn't ring true. The movie spends its whole time setting up several ideas and the one with which it decides to go doesn't feel right at all.

While it's odd for me to say this about a movie like this, the thing which really stands out about Crush is the acting. Lucas Till, who vacillates between big movies like X-Men: First Class and lesser-known things like All Superheroes Must Die. He's good here and I like how Scott is never an egotistical jerk. Crystal Reed takes on a character completely different from the one she plays on Teen Wolf and it works, as I didn't recognize her at first. Although, Reid Ewing seems to be playing someone only slightly smarter than his character on Modern Family. The thing which I can't figure out is what Leigh Whannell is doing in this movie. Yes, he's done some acting before, but he's much better known as the writer of Saw and Insidious.

So, in the end, Crush feels like a complete waste of time. The actors may be appealing, but there's little to like about a script which feels recycled and brings nothing new to the teen romantic drama sub-genre. There is no suspense here, nor is the movie ever titillating or exciting. What we get is one scene after another where Scott broods or someone watches Scott. Trust me, if Scott were truly that interesting, he would have wandered into a better movie.

Crush made me wonder why Jules has her own wing of the house on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Millennium Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 21 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good and I noted several shots displayed good depth. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. While that bitrate seems very low, the track performs quite well. The stereo effects show good separation and display some sounds coming from the left or right of the screen. The surround sound effects also deliver during the "stalking" scenes, and do a good job of making us feel as if things are happening behind us. The subwoofer effects also kick in during these scenes.

The lone extra feature on this Blu-ray Disc is "The Making of Crush". This 21-minute featurette offers interviews with the filmmakers and the cast, who discuss the story's themes and their motivations on the film. There is a nice mixture of clips and on-set footage here. With the actor interviews, each character is examined. The most interesting thing here are the various comments about how they wanted the film to be original. Good luck with that.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.