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The Crush Review

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At first Nick Elliot is flattered when his landlord's young daughter, Darian, has a crush on him. But when he declines her offer as tactfully as possible, he's unaware just how obsessive she has become, endangering the lives of himself, his girlfriend and even Darian.

★★★★★

The psycho bitch from hell sub-genre here strays into teen territory, as journeyman journo Nick Eliot (Elwes) rents a cottage on a Beverly Hills estate only to find that Darian (Silverstone), the 14-year-old daughter of his landlords, has the hots for him. She 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, Darian is marked as a potential Norma Bates by her Omen-ous name, 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.

When Darian's dad (Kurtwood Smith) reveals he has a working steam organ in the attic, you can feel a big climax being set up, though the actual action — Nick's photographer-girl­friend (Rubin) is trapped in her dark­room with a horde of angry wasps — is less effective than the more realistic aspects of the situation. The most unsettling stretch comes when Darian claims to have been abused by the object of her twisted affections and Nick finds himself undergoing a nightmarish arrest.

A modest thriller, trimmed to a tight 89 minutes so you won't notice the plot gaps, this tries mild variations on the recently-shopworn formula, though, as opposed to Pacific Heights, Single White Female, or The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, does suggest that rich landlords are more dangerous to poor tenants than the other way around. The only let-down is that Silverstone isn't quite up to the level of unexploded bomb of pubescence Drew Barrymore did so well.

As an unashamed B-movie, The Crush does what it says on the tin and entertains for an hour and a half. Except you feel kind of cheated by the supposed climax, with the build up proving more disturbing. Silverstone is convincingly equal parts Lolita and Norman Bates.

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