The Crush (Blu-ray Review)

CrushRomantic obsession has harrowing consequences in ‘90s cult-classic, suspense thrillerTHE CRUSH, written and directed by Alan Shapiro (Flipper, TV’s The Outsiders) and starring Cary Elwes (Saw, The Princess Bride, Twister), Alicia Silverstone (Clueless, Batman and Robin), Jennifer Rubin (Bad Dreams, Screamers) and Kurtwood Smith (TV’s Agent Carter, That ‘70s Show).  On June 21, 2016, SCREAM FACTORY™ is proud to present THE CRUSH Blu-ray edition, featuring new audio commentary with writer/director Alan Shapiro, new interviews with Kurtwood Smith and Jennifer Rubin, and more!  Available for the first time on Blu-ray, this special Scream Factory home entertainment release is a must-have for movie collectors, horror/ thriller enthusiasts and loyal fans to complete their movie library. *** Avid fans and collectors please take note: those who order directly from ShoutFactory.com and get it shipped two weeks early. 

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When Nick moves into a garage apartment in a picturesque  suburb, his landlady’s daughter takes more than a passing interest in him. Her infatuation turns violent when he rejects her, and she sets out to ruin him, his work and his girlfriend. If she can’t have him, no one will.  A man who should know better. A much younger teenager. No way should there be any kind of romance between them. Yet from the moment 14-year-old Adrian met Nick, she was crazy about him. There must be something she can say or do. Some way she can show him this is not just a crush. What can she do? What won’t she do?

The Crush was Alicia Silverstone’s first movie hot of the Aerosmith music video for “Cryin'”.  She was a the “it girl” in the mid-90s and this was the cinematic launch for her.  Surprisingly, Silverstone is actually very effective in the film, and its a surprising and challenging role for someone getting their start to take.  There are some rough moments toward the end, but that’s in service of the script and her inexperience that lead to that.  Overall, she’s pretty impressive for a first time out in a “talkie”.

What I love even more is the cast they’ve surrounded her with, namely Jennifer Rubin.  Rubin plays a supporting role and love interest of Cary Elwes in the film, but she’s got such a terrific energy and is a performer you can just get behind and feel something for.  I’ve long been a fan of hers and I’d never seen this film.  Also showing up is Amber Benson in an early turn as a friend of Silverstone’s character.  Elwes leads the charge in this movie, and he’s very solid and the Cary Elwes we all thought was flawless until his performance in the original Saw.

This film sort of sills out in 3 equal parts.  The first is sort of cuter, more innocent and slightly hinting at a more disturbing darker path.  Our follow-up is a more tense, thriller like angle that doesn’t really jump into darker territories, but makes you feel that they’re coming.  And the third acts on all that and really comes to a crazy head.  The first two parts in this are actually quite well done and effects.  Its the third that actually goes a bit too over the top and winds up goofy and silly.  However, its an enjoyable goofy and silly, it just can’t match the tone and promise of the first two acts.  In short: its just entertaining for different reasons.

An interesting look back at a more low key thriller of the 90s, The Crush is a bit of a capsule for many different reasons.  Back then it was an Alicia Silverstone film, but now it sorta works as a cult thriller from the era that brought on so many adult thrillers.  Nevertheless I still found it entertaining enough and finally now know what happens in a film I saw the box for aplenty in my VHS rental days.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  I have to say, this transfer looks pretty beautiful.  Maybe a lot of it is the gorgeous cinematography capturing this film.  Colors are pretty rich looking and the image looks sharp and crisp as it can for the time and source.  Details are very good, with some clothing textures and patterns impressing, especially for a low budget 1990s movie.

Depth:  Solid depth work.  Spacing is good, especially during office scenes and exteriors.  Movements are cinematic and for the most part smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and rich.  Dark scenes may lose some detail here and there, but ultimately look pretty well captured.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are pretty luscious here in this transfer.  Alicia Silverstone’s swimwear, be it that pink one, looks terrific in this transfer.  Jennifer Rubin’s red lips also look terrific.  There are some good purples abound too.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are lifelike and portray that appearance in all the scenes.  There is a good and impressive amount of facial detail here, from stubble and wrinkles to make-up lines and lip texture from both close-ups and medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  For the most part, very clean.  There is some grain remnant here, and I can’t tell if this one was polished over or not.

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  A warning flashes upon the screen upon hitting “Play”.  There is a phasing issue with the audio that goes back to the DVD version and is apparent in all known sources for this film.  Its not very distracting and mainly comes across in throwaway foley sounds.  Dialogue is good and intact and I didn’t notice it too much in the score.  This doesn’t sound perfect, but its good enough.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a whole lot of deep stuff going on here, so the subwoofer influence is minimal and less impactful.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Not too adventurous of a track, I did find a bird chirping moment from the rear speakers to be kind of charming.  This is front heavy, so you could probably make out good with the 2.0 track, and accurately places sound volume and movement.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and clear, not the cleanest due to the phasing problem.  Not perfect, but not incredibly bothersome either. 

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The Doting Father (HD, 9:59) – An interview with Kurtwood Smith.  He talks about being around for the whole shoot despite not being in a lot of the film.  He’s very happy to discuss and shares some decent stories of his experience in the production.

Stung By Love (HD, 13:19) – An interview with Jennifer Rubin.  She talks about using her experience as a model in the work of playing a photographer in the film.  She also shares some anecdotes about working with and the personalities of Cary Elwes and Alicia Silverstone.  She also talks about Alicia being 2nd generation MTV and making a big jump from music video to movies which hadn’t been seen before.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:03) 

TV Spot (HD, :17) 

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The Crush is the type of movie that feels we could only have received in the 90s.  Its also one during the big Alicia Silverstone craze and maybe one of her best.  Its certainly better than The Babysitter which I reviewed not too long ago.  The final act goes over the top into a giggly bit of enjoyment.  This Blu-ray comes with a lovely picture and decent enough audio.  Impressive is that it has new interviews with supporting players Kurtwood Smith and Jennifer Rubin.  A nice little package for this cult classic.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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