Passion is supposed to be for lovers, but not every lover is one you want to have pining away for you. Sometimes the person in love with you is actually an obsessive stalker. When that happens in the real world, a restraining order can usually fix the situation; however, in the world of cinema, those situations aren’t so easy to resolved.
This brings us to the film we will be discussing today.
Directed by Alan Shapiro, 1993’s The Crush features Cary Elwes as Nick Eliot, a writer and researcher who takes up a new job at Pique magazine in Seattle, Washington. While searching for a place to live, fate intervenes and Nick ends up renting a guest house that belongs to a wealthy couple named Cliff and Liv Forrester (Kurtwood Smith and Gwynyth Walsh). The price is right, the landlords seem nice, and it is homey, quiet, and inviting. But naturally there’s a catch, and that would be Cliff and Liv’s 14-year-old hellion daughter Adrian (Alicia Silverstone in her feature film debut!).
Smitten with Nick, Adrian takes to smouldering, Lolita-like, around his front door and going into pouting jealous fits whenever he shows any interest in anyone else. Outwardly all sweetness and babeliciousness, Adrian is marked as a potential Norma Bates by her super-intelligence, an interest in entomology, rich parents who leave her alone most of the time, and the way her best friend mysteriously falls off a horse when she tries to warn Nick about impending doom.
What impending doom you might ask? Well, after Nick rebuffs Adrian’s advances, she pretty much does everything she can to derail Nick’s life: She scratches up his newly restored car, attempts to kill his girlfriend, gets him fired from his job, and even accuses him of rape.
It should be noted that this young lady is an impossibly skilled rape faker. She beats herself up like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar and it is implied that she took a condom from Nick’s trash and unloaded its contents in or onto her person to frame Nick. Her commitment level is strong.
Eventually, though, Nick does learn about Adrian’s history of psychopathy – she’s clearly not new to this, but true to this. Adrian’s friend shows up and tells Nick that Adrian has most definitely killed before, poisoning a camp counselor. Nick is all, “yup. Sounds about right.” And this leads us into the film’s finale.
To be clear, The Crush is not a good movie but any stretch of the imagination, but darn it to heck if it isn’t bloody entertaining. Alicia Silverstone is great in her Psycho-Lolita role which demands that she be coy and sweet one minute and a murderous harridan the next minute. It was a very auspicious start to her career. Cary Elwes’ role as Nick was a pretty boring one to fulfill but Elwes manages to inject some energy into it so we can sympathize with his plight as Adrian begins to systematically ruin his life. The climax to the film, although a bit predictable, is full of thrills and Adrian’s fate is fitting.
Alan Shapiro’s direction skills are adequate but do not particularly excite. Most people would call the film trash (it’s sexualizing a child, won’t someone please think of the children!), but Silverstone’s “Bunny Boiler” turn makes it entertaining to watch as she goes from one dastardly deed to the next. All in all, this is an infectious little psychodrama, and one with high replay value. It’s stalktastic! Sorry…
Let us know your thoughts on The Crush in the comment section below.
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