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It began with the germ of an idea one night, and blossomed into a dark tale of obsessive love, in the hand of first time feature writer/director John V. Soto; here he tells the story of how Crush was created and produced.

The story for Crush came to me late one night several years ago. I was musing about how people can become so obsessed in relationships that they would do practically anything to stop the other person from leaving them. There is love and then there is obsession, which is clearly unhealthy. So I was rotating/flipping ideas and concepts around in my mind for a new film and suddenly it struck me - what if you have an affair with a woman who becomes obsessed with you, with the kicker that she has deadly supernatural powers? Sort of like a supernatural Fatal Attraction, only this time it’s a lot harder to escape as she is all powerful.

"that was the genesis for the idea"

So that was the genesis for the idea. Naturally I was very excited, because it had never been done before and it’s so difficult to come up with fresh and unique material. I wrote a detailed synopsis that night, finishing about 4am. I finished the final draft of the script nine months later (after twelve different drafts).

I sent the script to a friend of mine who worked at a studio and he loved it. He suggested I sell the script to a US studio, but I decided that Crush was the sort of film we could shoot on a low budget in Perth and was something that I could direct myself. Fortunately my business partner and wife, Deidre Kitcher (an experienced CPA Accountant and Financial Advisor) also agreed, however she set the condition that I had to write and direct an ultra low budget short film, Repulsion, (based on the Crush concept) to demonstrate my ability to tell a story with a camera.

Fortunately the short film turned out pretty good and we set about raising the finance for the film, along with building a team of film professionals to help achieve the vision. I brought on my co-Director, Jeff Gerritsen, who had shot a number of corporate videos and the odd commercial to help guide the process. We ended up splitting duties, I directed the actors and Jeff directed the crew. We were also fortunate to have secured the talents of Chris Egan (Eragon, Resident Evil 3), Emma Lung (The Jammed), Kane Manera (Cass), Christian Clark (Gates of Hell), Brooke Harman (Ned Kelly) and Jenna Lind (Underbelly) as key cast members.

Chris was amazing. Although he was based in LA and had an offer for a big US studio film, he loved the Crush script so much that he hired his own dialect coach (the hero was from the US) and started memorizing his lines as well. When he eventually made his way to Perth and we sat down to rehearse scenes, Chris knew as much about his character, Julian, as I did. He could also quote the lines from each scene perfectly. Naturally I was stunned to see the character literally come to life before my eyes.

"The chemistry between Chris and Emma was perfect"

Emma Lung was also pretty amazing; we auditioned scores of highly talented Aussie actresses for the role but Emma absolutely stole the show. She became the femme fatale, Anna, and brought a malevolence to the role that was truly scary. The chemistry between Chris and Emma was perfect and the performances from both are outstanding.

Apart from a highly enthusiastic crew we were fortunate to hire Jason Ballantine as editor for the film. Jason had cut Wolf Creek, Rogue and the remake of Prom Night and certainly knew his thriller and horror films. After each day’s shoot Jason would give us feedback on what we had shot, what extra footage we needed, what we need to improve etc and began to create a rough cut of the film. On Jason’s recommendation we hired Jamie Blanks as composer which was a big coup, because he not only is a brilliant composer but a great film director (he directed Urban Legends and Storm Warning) and he would give us feedback on the rough cut as well, which was very handy.

"a very lean, mean and cost efficient film set"

Overall the film shoot went smoothly, the producer, Deidre, ran a very lean, mean and cost efficient film set, we had a great time and I learned an enormous amount about filmmaking as we went along. Naturally we had minor problems along the way, like all films do, but the can-do attitude of the cast and crew meant they were solved pretty quickly. Amazingly the film pretty much resembled the synopsis that I wrote a couple of years earlier and showed that the key to a good film is to have a clear vision from the start.

Published October 8, 2009

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John Soto



The trailer has (as at Oct 7) been viewed 403,384 times, making it 11th in the world for "Movie Trailers 2009" on You Tube from over 100,000 other film trailers.

There are no other Australian films in the top 100 trailers, with the majority trailers originating from the US studios.

The Crush trailer is averaging 2000 views per day with the following breakdown of views-by-country;
25% US and Canada.
21% Australia & NZ
12% UK
16% Asia
14% Europe excluding the UK
12% from rest of world

Over 50% of viewers are people aged 13 to 24 and the trailer's average rating is 4.75 out of 5.

Studying architecture at the University of Western Australia on a student visa, banned US martial arts champ Julian (Chris Egan), gets a three month house sitting job at a spectacular mansion in Perth – much to the annoyance of his girlfriend Clare (Brooke Harman) who was going to live with him. Soon after moving in, Julian is seduced by the mysterious and beautiful Anna (Emma Lung), and his life begins to unravel; his relationship is in tatters, he loses the championship match (and his coach) and his final uni assignment goes missing … During a series of increasingly strange and dangerous events, he tries to end the relationship with Anna but Anna’s infatuation with him turns deadly.

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