The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
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All Critics (6)
| Top Critics (1)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (0)
Easily the most thrilling thriller in recent memory, "Crush the Skull" seems destined for cult status.
Clever black comedy horror-crime thriller.
Extremely entertaining and well-crafted, Crush The Skull promises a bright future in genre films for Nguyen.
Featuring artful photography tightly edited by its director..."Crush the Skull" is far worthier of your time than most of what passes for commercial comedy these days - if you can take some splatter.
A sharp offering that should send savvy horror fans home happy.
Nguyen shows great promise with Crush the Skull as he keenly identifies here what genre fans enjoy so much about horror movies & finds clever ways to manipulate those tropes into an experience that's as funny & quirky as it is manic & tense.
You know, sometimes there's films that stump me, to where I don't know exactly how to start out the review. If I got paid for this and I actually did this "professionally", I'd probably get fired because I didn't turn in a review before deadline. What I like about doing this for fun is the fact that I can write whatever I want in whatever style I want. I know my reviews aren't always the best, but I've never claimed that they were. If I legitimately tried to review films the way the people who get paid to do do it, I'd never get anything done. Plus I've always preferred a style that's more conversational. This is how I would talk about these movies with someone. But that's neither here nor there, why don't we move on to the movie, shall we? Let's start with a bit of a preamble here, ok, I have literally no clue about this film's existence until I came across it on Amazon Prime after I finished watching Death Passage (or Lemon Tree Passage as it is widely known). I digress, there's plenty of films whose existence I'm unaware of until I actually sit down and watch them. For some reason, I don't typically frequent movie sites, so I'm serious when I say I had no clue about this film's existence until early Monday morning. When I watch films like this, that haven't really had any real word of mouth or actual legitimate marketing done, I like to go in with zero expectations. This isn't always possible, particularly if you watch the trailer and you come away unimpressed. I'm not suggesting I was unimpressed by the trailer, but it just didn't really hit me one way or another. I just thought that this would be just another horror movie. A horror movie that reminded me of Don't Breathe (without a crazy as shit blind man) even though this movie (and the two shorts it is based on) came out before Don't Breathe. Years before in the case of the shorts. But I digress, let's just move on. The similarities are really superficial since, thematically, this and Don't Breathe could not be more different from one another. This is a comedy-horror movie through and through. This might be surprising to a lot of people who watched the trailer and, while there was one scene that was comical in the entire trailer, assumed it was just another straight-up horror movie. This is some of the most fun I've had watching a horror movie in quite some time. I'd say that Here Alone, a horror film that I gave the same rating as this one, is a better pure movie, from a technical and storytelling standpoint, but I wouldn't say I had more fun watching Here Alone than I did watching this. Here Alone wasn't designed for you to have a great time, this was. The Void also comes to mind as a great horror movie, but that wasn't designed for you to sit down and laugh for a 80 or so minutes. It was a throwback to old 80s horror movies in terms of how it told its story and its practical gore effects. Moving on, though, enough comparing films to this. I don't know where I can even start with this movie and that might actually be a good thing. Film is simple, these four robbers decide to go on one last heist before calling it quits for good after one of their own gets in trouble with the law. They decide to rob this secluded, but nice, house. Once inside they find themselves stuck as all the windows are locked from the outside and the glass is made from palladium, so they can't shoot their way out. As they progress through this house, they come to a secret door in the wall that leads to an underground where, it is revealed, a serial killer takes his victims and tortures them in. This is obviously when the film picks up tremendously. You know a comedy-horror film is a good one when its funniest character is first to die and you don't really even notice that much of a drop-off in the quality of the comedy. That's how you know you've got a winner in your hands. One of the things that instantly jumps out at you, once you're deeper into the film and the characters find themselves in increasingly tense situations, is the fact that these people are actually well-constructed and written characters. I'm not out here trying to suggest that these people are complex or anything of the sort, but they all have their distinct personalities and wishes. It also helps that, quite frankly, the casting of this movie is pretty damn great. I know Chris Dihn (who played Ollie and co-wrote this movie) was also in both short films. But he's still a relative unknown in the vast horror genre as an actor (and as a writer), hell you could say that about everyone in the cast here. Having said all of that, I still think the film is impeccably cast. Perhaps impeccable really is too strong of a word, but the casting gets thumbs way up to me. Part of me worried that, one of the flaws that I typically associate with the horror-comedy genre (at least those that I don't end up liking) is the fact that the horror and comedy are kept completely separate, as if they are two completely different movies. I've seen plenty of films like this and I'm quite glad to say, and this is a phrase I seem to be going to quite a bit in this review, that this is not one of those cases. While I'm not trying to suggest that this is the next coming of Paranormal Activity (in terms of scare), the horror is surprisingly effective here. The villain(s) are very effective in their roles. The comedy, on the other hand, for the most part, actually complements the horror about as well as it possibly can. It brings moments of levity right after something serious happens. Either that or it works in conjunction with the horror. One thing is very much obvious and that is that Viet Nguyen and Chris Dihn clearly have a handle on how to mix two different genres into one coherent whole, where one genre doesn't negate and undermine the other. The ending is pretty great as well, it ends on a high note and the title of the film comes into play in a fun way. I mean, what the fuck else can I say about this movie? I legit had a blast watching this, this is only a couple of years old, but I feel that this effort should have brought a larger spotlight to Chris Dihn and Viet Nguyen as people with a lot of potential. This film is very good and I would gladly recommend this to any horror nerd I know. If you end up disliking this movie, then I don't really know what's wrong with you, you horrid, horrid monster!
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