Kickstarter Movie Review – “Crush the Skull”

Crush the Skull – CtS was a low-budget horror film I backed on Kickstarter some time ago. As is often the case, it takes many months before you get to see the finished product (if ever…there are still projects I backed in early 2014 that haven’t delivered). I can’t remember exactly what made me choose this film as one to support. I think it was a combination of the plot and the prominence of humor in the film. Actually the film’s budget was rather large for Kickstarter standards, about $75,000 (I’ve backed films with budgets below $1,000 if you can believe that).

The film is the brainchild of Viet Nguyen and Chris Dinh. Chris also stars in the film, while Viet served as Director. The plot is somewhat simple: Ollie (Dinh) and Blair (Katie Savoy) are a loving couple who happens to make their living by breaking and entering into upper-class homes. When what is supposed to be their final job before a year of traveling goes comically wrong, they are forced to go into debt to a local gangster and resume “work” to afford their payments. Because time is of the essence, they agree to join Blair’s screw-up brother (Chris Reidell) and his “crew” (the hilarious Tim Chou) in a robbery of a vacation home. Unfortunately, the target property is the lair of a serial killer…and once they break in, they cannot find a way out.

Tight dialogue, great humor and good acting are what pull this film together. There are some suspenseful moments, but things never get too serious, and unlike most low-budget horror films the blood is kept to a minimum. Crush the Skull is one of those movies you need to pay attention to as you watch it or you’ll miss some of the ongoing gags and subtle humor. You’ll still enjoy the more obvious jokes and fun, but the effort you put into the details will be well worth your while.

The characters are well developed and their personalities dictate their actions and the kind of laughter they inspire. The “basement” sets are very well done, and above all the post-production work on sound and music lift Crush the Skull to an even higher level. Those two areas are often shortchanged in the low-budget world, but this team marshalled their resources well and the finished product is much better for those efforts.

I don’t think Crush the Skull is available on DVD or on-demand yet, but I believe it will be shortly. Watch for it, especially if you enjoy dark, intelligent humor mixed with your suspense and horror.

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