Viet Nguyen's Crush the Skull is the story of Ollie and Blair, an early 30s couple whose income is derived from breaking into unsuspecting households and stealing money and property. While at first thrilling, Blair has begun to grow tired of their against-the-law lifestyle, eventually convincing Ollie to give up their trade as master thieves and move on to the next phase in their lives. On their last heist, things don't go as planned, with Ollie getting arrested, which in turn prompts Blair to make a deal with the local crime lord to get Ollie released. Of course, this leaves Ollie and Blair in debt to the crime boss, forcing them once again to perform one last heist in an effort to pay off their debts and escape from the dangers of their profession. Things don't go exactly as planned, with the master thieves finding themselves trapped within the house they intended to rob, slowly discovering that the owner may in fact be a deranged serial killer. As much a comedy as it is a horror film, Viet Nguyen's Crush the Skull is a very fun, low-budget horror comedy which manages to balance both of its genres extremely well. The story itself is simple yet engaging, with the filmmakers creating a nice sense of chaos once the thieves find themselves trapped in this deadly game, with Crush The Skull delivering a claustrophobic, chaotic atmosphere that never feels particularly predictable, due in part to its ability to seamlessly infuse its comedy and horror elements. What impressed me so much about Crush The Skull is its ability to maintain its demented, horror qualities despite its heavy comedy, especially when considering the fact that Crush The Skull delivers enough laugh to be considered more a comedy than horror film. The script is witty and self-aware, playing with not only the tropes of the horror genre but more-so the stereotypes of its characters, which consist of both Asian-American and Caucasian characters, delivering a film that is somewhat self-aware but still interested in creating a fun, demented horror film. While the film does suffer from some of the problems many American low-budget films do, with acting that leaves something to be desired for example, Crush The Skull is a simply put, a lot of fun, being a film which uses its unhinged ability to make you laugh one scene and cringe in horror the next to deliver an enjoyable and engaging experience.
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