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Crush (2013) – Review

3 1/2 Stars


Judging from the generic title Crush, its hard to believe that this Fatal Attraction for a younger, more technologically savvy generation, is smart, well-directed and photographed. The opening passage introduces us to an almost Spielberg-ian suburban street. The block hustles with lite traffic, neighbors water their lawns and two children sit on a rooftop in the fading summer light. The little boy and girl, each no more than ten years old are alone three stories above the pavement. When the girl hears that her crush has kissed another girl, she mercilessly pushes him from the rooftop to his death. It’s an unexpectedly riveting opening scene that sets the pace for the tightly wound thriller to proceed from.

Bess is new in town and her parents seem to be perpetually absent. She is shy and quiet, works in a comic book store and has an enormous crush on high-school soccer star Scott Norris. Problem is that Scott is rehabilitating from a knee injury and he has broken things off with his girlfriend Jewels, so he can focus on getting a college scholarship. Bess interprets this as her opening and begins to send Scott secret admirer messages and terrorize his enemies.

The performance from Crystal Reed as the wounded, jilted obsessive Bess is something to behold. She holds the film together, if she isn’t believable the movie wouldn’t work. Luckily, director Malik Bader has found the right actress. In a flashback sequence featuring an odd continual reference to His Girl Friday, Reed is allowed to play sweet and charming and she nails that too. Holt McCallany, one of my favorite actors, is a welcomed sight as Scott’s father Mike. Leigh Whannell co-creator of the Saw franchise appears in an acting only bit here, which should delight astute genre fans. Not to mention my very own movie star crush in my high-school days, Meredith Salenger returns to the screen in a brief cameo. Crush puts to shame flicks like Swimfan and The Roommate, by killing us with intelligence and good old fashion tension.

Director: Malik Bader
Stars: Crystal Reed, Lucas Till, Sarah Bolger

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