Mixing dark comedy with horror, Oliver Robins’ wrote, directed and stars in Celebrity Crush. Where he takes some not so subtle digs at obsessive fan-bases, celebrity culture and himself.
Why himself, I hear you ask? Well, like the character himself, Robins is a child actor who starred in one of the most seminal horrors ever put to film. Which one? Only Poltergeist where Robins’ played the clown doll hating, tree battling lad, Robbie Freeling.
Here, he plays former child actor Jonathan Blakely who starred in a cult horror movie called Chain Face Clown. That movie was released in 1985 and Jonathan has been hoping to get his screen-writing career off and running ever since.
He’s not very successful though and with the DVD release of Chain Face Clown due, jumps at the chance to do some signings and appearances to promote it.
A quiet and unassuming man, Jonathan meets Emily (Alissa Schneider) at the hotel he is staying in and the pair hit it off. Although he is surprised to find she has never even heard of Chain Face Clown. Regardless, even though he has a girlfriend at home he ends up in her bed that night.
The next morning, while being polite and making his excuses to leave, Emily reveals she knows exactly who he is. She is his number one fan and even has a tattoo relating to the movie on her body.
Alarm bells start to ring in Jonathan’s head but it’s too late and he ends up chained in her garage.
Emily plans to keep him locked up until he finally realises that she is the love of his life and the pair can live happily ever after.
Of course, it’s easy to draw parallels to the likes of Misery with the story here. We have a crazed fan keeping the person they adore captive until they do exactly what they want. That’s where it ends though as Celebrity Crush is far more tongue in cheek and way more visceral.
Emily will do anything to make Jonathan her own which includes violent murders, painful tortures and even sending his current girlfriend pics of the two of them in bed together.
Intercut with the main story are super-low budget VHS style scenes from Chain Face Clown. Something Emily is forcing Jonathan to watch over and over again. The disorientation felt by our lead is felt by us too.
The most praise-worthy thing about Celebrity Crush is the performances. Oliver Robins’ does unassuming and quiet well so when he snaps it really makes its mark. Whereas Alissa Schneider is often so over the top, it’s hilarious but fun. She does great, really letting her psychotic side come out to play.
Alas, the film’s major flaw is the story and just how stretched it feels. It almost seems like it would have been better as a 20-30 minute short. Instead we get a fair amount of repetition and some really slow moments. These do threaten to derail the movie several times but it holds it together by being an overly entertaining watch.
It’s hard not to have wry smile at some the subtle references to Robins’ past and an even bigger smile at the not so subtle references we mentioned at the start.
It’s not ground-breaking stuff but it’s far more interesting and entertaining then you might expect just going off the synopsis.
The Final Score - 6.5/10