Crush (1992)

Genres - Drama, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 15, 1992 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - New Zealand  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Josh Ralske

Alison Maclean's Crush is an enjoyably twisted psychological thriller of obsession, jealousy, and revenge. From the opening moments of the film, it's apparent that Lane (Marcia Gay Harden) is trouble. As she speeds along a winding road, her companion, Christina (Donogh Rees), explains that the New Zealand countryside is a "totally benign environment," unlike Australia with its snakes or dangerous animals, and that one really has to search to "uncover the evil." After the car accident, in which Christina is critically injured, Lane stumbles out of the flipped-over car, picks up the side view mirror from the ground, and examines her own minor injury. Thus, Maclean cleverly hints at how wrong Christina's pronouncement was. The evil may not be so difficult to uncover. Harden's performance is pivotal to the film. She makes Lane a very believable character. Lane is obviously driven by her animal impulses, but she often seems remorseful about the distress she causes, and her remorse is as real as her passion. That gives her complexity and makes her more a tragic heroine than a villain. The supporting cast is also very strong, creating essentially decent characters whose very human weaknesses cause their destructive behavior. For example, it's easy to understand why Angela (Caitlin Bossley) is first attracted to, and then resentful of Lane, and how that resentment, combined with the socially awkward teen's loneliness, leads her down a dark path. The gruesomely realistic makeup job makes Christina's once beautiful face difficult to look at, and as she recovers and begins to look like herself, the brain damage caused by her head injury still makes her a haunted and unpredictable presence. Crush has its suspenseful moments, and plenty of dark humor, but it's really a creepily effective character study. It gets under your skin.