LA Film Fest Review: CRUSH THE SKULL

CRUSH THE SKULL poster - FINAL WEBFinding the perfect blend between horror and humor is one hell of a trick, one that more times than not, backfire quite badly. There’s a balance that has to be perfectly teetered, or if one is courageous enough, they decide that they know just what kind of magic they have in their hands and they focus the majority of the film on one of those elements, gambling if it will turn out decent.  Viet Nguyen’s gut-bustingly funny CRUSH THE SKULL is that kind of film, one that knows that it’s strength lies in its humor, and in turn offers up a horror/comedy story that will definitely please.

Co-written by Nguyen and Chris Dinh (who stars in the film), CRUSH THE SKULL isn’t a film that spends much time playing around, or better yet, spends ALL of its time playing around, but in a way that works for the film, quite perfectly. Following Ollie and Blair (played PERFECTLY by Dinh and Katie Savoy), a couple of thieves attempting one last job before retiring and living the good life, the film does one hell of a job throwing the couple into problem after problem. When Ollie does the right thing and tries to save someone, he lands himself in jail, and Blair uses a connection with a notorious criminal to get Ollie, but has to borrow a large amount of money to do, meaning that one more b&e job is a must to repay the debt.

The film’s setup is a good one, and if the film had just been about that, it would have easily been a very memorable and entertaining comedy, but when the film takes its turn and the couple, along with Allie’s brother, Connor, and his one man “Crew” Riley (played so hilariously by the criminally funny Tim Chiou) break into a house that is impossible to escape. Making things worse, the foursome discover it’s a house in which a serial killer takes his victims to torture and kill.

It’s almost like a Laurel and Hardy or Martin and Lewis comedy routine put into a horror setting, the comedy of the film is just impossible to ignore, each actor involved bringing so many memorable moments to the film. Typically in films like this one, you might like one or two characters and focus more on the plot, but with CRUSH THE SKULL, the film is so well written and performed, that each joke succeeds with a monumentally hilarious effect. Dinh’s Ollie character does his absolute best to get his girlfriend out of trouble, and though he plays it completely straight, it’s hard not to laugh at every single thing he does. The comedic duo of Chiou’s Riley and Chris Riedell’s Connor characters are such a good pair and work so well together, than when the film is over, you’re wanting a prequel backstory just with those guys.

It’s a film that has horrifically gory moments, and more than its share of blood and gore, and that’s great, but more than that, it’s the rare Horror/Comedy that uses that subgenre to its full potential. A horror film that utitilizes the comedy within it to the extreme so well, that you fall in love with every single one of its characters, making it that much more effective when they’re put into the fight of their lives.  A wildly original and completely hilarious film, on par with TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL and SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The laughs hit you nonstop, and CRUSH THE SKULL is easily one of the wittiest films of its kind.

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