Crushed (2016)

crushed_poster_smallStarring Sarah Bishop, Les Hill, Roxane Wilson

Directed by Megan Riakos


Who doesn’t enjoy a nice glass of the ol’ vino after a hard day’s work? Even if you’re a fan of the cold suds, there remains a refined taste when it comes to those marvelous stomped, fermented grapes…alright, I’m gettin a bit thirsty. Okay, beverage down the hatch, and I’m ready to continue – here we have a mystery/thriller from director Megan Riakos titled, Crushed, and after checking this one out, my interest in winery tours has taken a precipitous drop – follow me though the vines and we’ll give this one a look.

Starring Sarah Bishop as Ellia, a woman who makes the unwanted trip back to her family’s winery in the far-out stretches of Australia to attend the funeral of her father, who was mysteriously killed in an accident on grounds…smells funny to me. Upon her arrival, it’s not looked too highly that she’s come back home after all this time away, and this family firmly resides under the dictionary definition of “dysfunctional.” Her mother and uncle are straight-up contentious towards her, while her brother and little sister are trying like hell just to keep this business afloat. If all the problems that this family has internally and externally possessed, after a detailed police investigation, it looks as if Ellia’s father’s death was staged to look like an accident – see, I told ya something was rotten around here! After this reveal, Ellia’s mother is now arrested and charged with the crime of murder (Mom has wanted to sell off the winery for years), and if the family already had beef with her before, let’s just say that she’s become public enemy number one with a bullet after Mommy gets locked up. Seems to be that Ellia’s dodge away from home years ago was no fluke – her twin brother “accidentally” died way back when, and the fingers were firmly pointed her way as a result – jeezus, does this household have some problems!

What starts off as a remembrance to her departed dad turns into a full-blown whodunit, and the body count runs fairly high in this movie that at times looks and feels as if it’s got a bit too much going on, and the idea that it’s going to take some time to sort this mess out can be an uphill battle. With that being said, I can certainly respect the work that Riakos has put out here, complete with beautiful cinematography and some exceptional performances from her cast. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a mystery flick contain so much underneath its hood (deception, ulterior motives, and decent kills), all the time keeping it’s eye on the prize, which is a gratifying conclusion (spoilers firmly removed). So, the next time you’re in the mood for some imbibing of fermented fruit, please make sure that you’re standing far enough away from those heavy casks…we wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt, now would we? Give this one a look when it makes it’s way out to you – cheers!

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Matt Boiselle

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