Film Review: Crush the Skull

Four burglars target the wrong house in this snarky thriller that puts a playful spin on home-invasion clichés.
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Sensible Blair (Katie Savoy) and her feckless brother, Connor (Chris Riedell), are seasoned burglars ready to get out of the business before it gets them, so they've set up one last job (oh, oh... seasoned movie viewers know what that means), ripping off a spiffy vacation home whose owner has left his chic place unoccupied. Connor's "crew," as he likes to call it in heist-movie style, is rounded out by world-class idiot Riley (Tim Chiou) and Blair's boyfriend Ollie (co-screenwriter Chris Dinh). What are the odds that this is going to end well? 

Once our four young people are in place, things immediately start going haywire. The house is a wild maze of rooms and corridors and, worse still, access to various spaces is controlled from a nerve center somewhere on the premises. Whose finger is on the keys is a mystery. And then there's Vivian (Lauren Reeder), the skinny woman they find locked in a subterranean cage. Is she a victim or something else?

Financed by a Kickstarter campaign, Crush the Skull is a clever, handsomely produced little movie that doesn't disrupt genre conventions so much as toy with them smartly. While it's billed as a horror comedy, horror definitely dominates, and the payoff is a tidy bit of business. Crush the Skull may not be the new Intensity, but it's a sharp offering that should send savvy horror fans home happy.

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