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Crush the Skull

USA 2015
produced by
Aya Tanimura, Jimmy Tsai, Chris Dinh, Viet Nguyen, Joan Huang (executive), Jeffrey Gou (executive) for Ninja Crush, Cherry Sky Films
directed by Viet Nguyen
starring Chris Dinh, Katie Savoy, Chris Riedell, Tim Chiou, Lauren Reeder, Walter Michael Bost, Lincoln Hoppe, Devyn Stokdyk, Kartina Nelson, Jay Rondot, Jessica W. Bailey, Justin Ray, Christopher Custodio, Nathan Moore, Jerry Ying, Leonard Wu, Jibby Saetang, Kim Houghton, Michelle Grondine
written by Viet Nguyen, Chris Dinh, music by David Frank Long

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Blair (Katie Savoy) and Ollie (Chris Dinh) aren't really bad people - sure, they make their money by breaking and entering, but actually do have what you'd call a social conscience, and the one reason why Ollie got caught during their last heist was because he wanted to save a woman (Jessica W. Bailey) - who they actually tried to rob - from her abusive husband (Jay Rondot). Thanks to their mob connections, Blair got Ollie out of custody, but now they owe money to the mob, which is never a good idea, and to cough it up on the quick the two of them throw in with Blair's incompetent brother Connor (Chris Riedell) and his "crew" Riley (Tim Chiou). Well, the heist doesn't go at all as planned, as first of all there's no way into the place but through the headlights, and once they're in, there seems to be no way out, and the place as such seems to be better secured than any jail. Heck, even the cellphone signals of our heroes seem to be jammed on purpose. Thing is, the more they investigate the place the more they find out they rather would not have, like the place has secret torture chambers, like women have been taped while being murdered there, like there's a big secret basement with remote controlled doors ready-made for tortture, murder and dismemberment. And they also find Vivian (Lauren Reeder), who has been held in a cage in one of the rooms for weeks now, having gone through hell since ... but of course, getting her out of the house isn't all that easy since not even our heroes have found a way out of the house. And then the owner of the house, a.k.a. the killer returns - and he knows he has a bunch of mice in his trap, and knows how to control the doors in his house and have them run exactly into the places he wants them to to off one by one ...


When it comes to good genre entertainment, Crush the Skull is most certainly a movie that hits all the right marks: It's a film that knows how to create drama and suspense, when and where to put drama and plot twists, and how to create believable characters - but it has also got a sense how to throw humour (and lots of it) into the equation without making the thing moronic or even losing the tension. That said, the premise of the film might be a bit far-fetched, I give you that, but it's well-structured, subtly yet flexibly directed, and the ensemble cast really all deliver on-point likeable performances to make this one work like a charm!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD