Crushed (aka) She's Crushed International Art
Context: In August 2006, a new user called "taraiscrushed" started
uploading videos on Youtube. They were essentially vlogs by a women in
her mid-20s called Tara. At first, the videos were of the usual sort
you would find there; diaries about Tara's day-to-day life. As the
weeks and months passed, Tara displayed increasing signs that things
were not right, along with revealing a difficult past. It turns out
this was an elaborately planned promotional campaign (which some may
understandably qualify as a hoax) for the movie that I am now going to
review, Crushed. This will be followed by a mini-review of the uploaded
Crushed features a premise that is almost identical to the 80s classic
Fatal Attraction. Ray (Henrik Norlén) cheats on his girlfriend with the
new girl in town, Tara (Natalie Dickinson). He wants it to remain a one
night stand but she has other plans. Unlike Fatal Attraction the movie
doesn't revolve mainly around Ray's point of view. Sure, we see things
from his perspective once in a while and learn more about him but the
lion's share of screen time goes to Tara. Her behavior becomes
increasingly disturbed as the film goes on and thanks to this
character, the movie is far from a Fatal Attraction rip-off. Tara does
not want to let go and when she feels threatened by the people around
this man she is obsessed with, she goes to any length to get them out
of her way. And this is where this movie goes into modern horror
territory. The gruesomeness displayed reminded me partly of Hannibal
(although director Patrick Johnson's work will not be confused for
Ridley Scott). The acting might not be great, the cinematography is
basic and the thing was filmed on a budget but still, that violence was
probably the thing the movie had most going for it. It's definitely not
for the squeamish and has Hostel overtones.
The overall screenplay and direction does have problems. The most
blatant was the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Patrick
Johnson made an odd choice right from the start by not having Tara and
Ray share a single moment of mutual interest, lust, passion or even
flirting on screen. She picks him up while he's completely drunk
bordering on passed out, we fade to black, then the next thing Ray
wakes up next to her and leaves in a hurry. The whole movie revolves
around one thing: Tara's obsession with that man but how she actually
gets hooked is barely implied. This rings somewhat hollow as a viewer
and prevents the movie from having the intensity it could easily have
This film was obviously made cheaply and strange casting choices also
affect the product. Swedish actor Henrik Norlén seems talented but very
much not at ease playing an American war veteran. His accent is
noticeable in some places more than others and this also seems to
affect his acting delivery. Natalie Dickinson is doing a solid job in a
dream role (so many actors have put themselves on the map playing bad
guys and psychos!) although a bit inconsistent at times. But overall,
she does well playing Tara who alternates between irony- filled psycho
and a hurt soul with a difficult past. Many of the supporting actors
were adequate but special nod goes to Keith Malley, who has great comic
instinct and is a real natural on camera!
Where the budget shows is in the action sequences, if I may call them
that. There is some pretty rigid cinematography and editing here, which
could have used more creativity. That's a shame because in other
places, Johnson shows nice artistry with beautiful, evocative shots.
THE YOUTUBE PROMOS
This is extremely ambitious when you realize this movie is just getting
out while these videos were updated through three full years. They
revolve entirely around Tara, as if it was a real person's Vlog. And
while you sense some structure in many videos, it looks like Natalie
Dickinson ad-libbed much of it. And that's actually what is so
wonderful about it. The less structure, the more soul she seems to give
to Tara. As well, an entirely unexploited side of her in the film is
explored here. She is much less caricatural, seems vulnerable and
displays her artistic side. I was very disappointed that her paintings
did not appear at all in the movie. Having praised the down to earth
nature of the promo, several clips actually hint that this is staged,
and some show the darker side of Tara. Unlike the movie, none of the
50-or- so clips features any sign that this would be such an intense
and gory movie. I think only one clip has Tara throw F-bombs if i
recall correctly. But the most surprising thing to me was that the
clips made Tara into a gorgeous women, the kind that would certainly
fascinate people, while the Tara of the movie seems bland in
comparison. It is strange that these clips that are even cheaper than
the movie flatter Natalie Dickinson even more than the movie (she has a
magnetic gaze thanks to amazing eyes).
You could always watch the promo on youtube but it doesn't share all
that much with the movie, except as an appetizer. As for the film, I
think it has flaws but the intensity of certain scenes will make it
worthwhile for horror/thriller fans. An intense little ride that would
have been improved by tighter direction and a better co-lead. It is a
pity that Patrick Johnson didn't use the vlogs more efficiently in the
narrative of the film. A missed opportunity in that regard. Still, he
does nice things here and Natalie Dickinson shows some promise as well.
–siamois via IMDB
Okay, let me just start off by saying if you liked movies like Audition
(Ôdishon, 1999) or May (2002), then you are most definitely going to
love this one.
Yes, this is not a major Hollywood production with millions of dollars
in the production, but wow! This movie was thrilling from start till
end. It is one of the most disturbing movies I have seen.
The way the movie is shot is phenomenal, the images and the camera
angles. The images go from being serene and pure to being disturbing
and downright diabolic.
Crushed (or "She's Crushed") will keep you nailed - almost literally -
to your chair throughout the entire length. The movie is one big
roller-coaster ride, building up suspense and tipping over with great
thrills, and often toe-curling scenes.
The characters in the movie are vividly brought to life by an amazing
cast. None of which I can recall having seen before. The cast really
did a great acting job in this movie. And the set was good as well,
very believable. Natalie Dickinson (Tara) and Henrik Norlén (Ray) were
perfect in the lead roles.
The gore effects were good, but some quite obviously fake. But that
didn't matter, because the whole movie is so well put together that you
will look past some fake effects. It has enough blood to keep even
gorehounds glued to the screen.
This is one of those movies that will stay with you for a long time.
The images are compellingly haunting, bizarre and beautiful at the same
time. And the characters are believable and real. A shame that it
haven't gotten more attention than it did, because this is most
definitely a movie worth watching - a gem in an otherwise flooded genre
Not only is the movie great entertainment, but it also leaves you with
some questions. Could this happen for real? Should we trust strangers
who come into our lives?
I felt like I had my teeth pulled out and still I was begging for more!
Watch this one! You will not be disappointed!
–Paul Haakonsen from Denmark via IMDB
For those who enjoy brutal violence generously delivered by a woman you
wouldn't mind taking to bed yourself (assuming she wouldn't kill you
too) then this is a movie for you... A very well made blood and guts
piece in which the director did a thoughtful job of helping us, the
audience members, try to understand the murderous impulses of the
killer. In many ways, this movie is more about the cause and affect of
violence than the simple blood on the walls shock fest that is so
prevalent in today's horror market... and although I did appreciate the
director, Patrick Johnson, taking the time to elevate this piece or at
least attempt to do so, I still can't help but feel he shied away from
an element that seemed completely natural to the story; nudity. there
should have been more nudity. Movie violence and nudity go together
like peanut butter and jelly especially if the killer is a good looking
If they do a sequel to this little gem, I hope they do it in 3D!!
–velusion via IMDB
This movie wasn't too bad for a low-budget thriller/horror movie. There
were buckets of blood/gore, tons of maiming and a lot of sick sadistic
acts perpetrated by the main psychotic freak. What really killed the
movie the most for me, though, is how much of a weak pathetic loser the
guy is portrayed as. He has many opportunities to take the chick out in
the movie, but since he's such a pathetic wuss you'll find yourself
yelling at him to grow a pair and do something besides being a tool.
They should have picked an actor more congruent to the role, the actor
here is a pretty decent size guy and yet he can't take out a little 115
lb psychotic chick when he has the chance (and he has many!). GROW A
SET OF TESTICLES MAN!
Anyway, as I said there is a ton of gore, the story is quite intense
and for the most part the actors do a good job; the problem for me is
the absurdity of the guys situation and how he handles it... or in this
case, fails to handle it.
Would I recommend it? Yes, it's a good ride and has decent shock value.
The story is decent enough to keep you there, if only to see what
she'll do/get away with next. Another thing I'd like to know is how
when she's cutting people up she only gets blood on her face and
– azayzel from United States
Crazy. If one word were to pin point describing all women, crazy would be that sole word. In my lifetime, I’ve experienced various levels of crazy from social and personal relationships; these varied levels result in leaving you in a collective state of confusion, sorrow, anguish, fear and anger. Quite a few times I have been on dates where I’ve actually feared for my life: I’ve dated women who cut themselves for the “just because” satisfaction, I’ve dated women who have a jump-out-of-a-high-building-window suicidal tendency and I’ve dated women who think romantic conversation and/or sleeping behind my back would be a good idea – this is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want balls out crazy, watch She’s Crushed because it will leave you never wanting to date….ever again. I don’t even know if I want to go outside again. I would much rather just have relations with my right hand than date a girl like the movie’s character – Tara.
Tara seems like the girl next door. In fact, she is the girl next door to where Ray works. Ray seems like the perfect guy. He’s handsome, charming and has a stable job. When Tara and Ray have a one night stand, Ray, the next day, wants to put his mistake behind him due to just one little problem – his girlfriend. However, Tara creates a fantasy world where being with Ray is the only way to live and killing others to get closer to him delights her. If anyone, including Ray, steps into her sights, sadistic Tara will kidnap, torture, lobotomize and kill them just to prove a point that no one is safe from the wrath of a “fuck and run”.
Most of you might recall having seen something similar to this movie before. It echoes a poor man’s Fatal Attraction except Natalie Dickinson, Tara, is significantly hotter than that dried-up, burn-unit-looking-victim Glenn Close will ever be and Henrik Norlen, Ray, is no Michael Douglas yet oddly resembles him in some fashions…like his “it’s almost a mullet but it’s not” hair cut. The premise is the same; guy with girlfriend sleeps with another gal and that gal has a murderous hissy fit when being rejected by the guy. Tara, however, has an inexplicable taste for lobotomies and hacking up her former torturees into itty bitty parts just so they’ll fit snugly into a suitcase. I’d say Tara has rooted issues much deeper than Glenn Close’s character which can be concluded by watching Tara go all Jesus of Nazareth with the feet of Ray’s girlfriend, nailing them to the floor and going to town on her little piggies!
Tara’s underlying cause for her insanity isn’t 100% clear. Apparently, she was abducted, raped and held prisoner in her younger days – all played out during a montage. This question is one of many that came to mind after watching She’s Crushed, others included: Why is Tara’s mother in the psych ward? Why is Tara’s father (or stepfather) fucking Tara? How the hell does Tara know so much about Ray, does he have his own wikipedia page? Why does Tara lobotomize her victims reducing them to a drooling waste of human space? Why doesn’t Ray stop being a pussy and kick the crazy out of this psycho? Some of the blame for the numerous inquiries can be contributed to choppy and sporadic mess of the editing and transitioning scenes. Another question, did the director and editor feel that they needed to implement every single editing technique from the Film Making for Dummies handbook?
Overall, your mind will obtain the gist of the film’s plot while attempting to push all the annoying questions and the Picasso editing fiascoes aside. Natalie Dickinson, by herself, is worth every screen appearance as she brings sexy and scary into each scene – a bit over-the-top at times but an effective loony none-the-less. I would suggest She’s Crushed as a totally torturiffic film and a good way to start off the new year by bringing Tara and her psychotic tendencies in your movie watching life on DVD February 16, 2010 or you can pre-order your copy today
By Steven Tee Cinesploitation.com
What an awesome little gem I watched last night. I really did not know what to expect from this low budget film but wow I was kind of blown away. Yes, it does have some plot holes and not the best audio, but the two main characters were really good and kept me watching. The woman is bloody ruthless and that's to put it lightly. It's a suspense/ thriller/ horror with all the fixings.
This film has got Fatal Attraction beat hands down, so you know now where this film is going. Honestly, it makes Fatal Attraction look like a kids movie...... my opinion only!!!
I recommend this film to anyone!
DID YOU ILLEGALLY DOWNLOAD IT ALREADY? Oh, don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. You know who you are. We've seen the torrents damn it! You just couldn't wait for the DVD huh? Didn't want to pay retail or rent it? Can't blame you... uh... I mean.. Shame on you. Well now you can have instant GOOD KARMA and donate a wee bit to set the universe straight. It's only a buck... don't be cheap... Tara has knife and will travel..
Also we would love it if you spread the word and reccomend the movie to your friends and neighbors, ex's and people you don't even know.