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The Independent Critic

Viva Bianca, Chris Sadrinna, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor
Samuel Genocchio
85 Mins.
Celebrity Home Video

 "Bad Bush" is No Bush League Indie Thriller 
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Ophelia (Viva Bianca, television's Spartacus: Vengeance) has a newborn and is seeking a safe haven. She visits her sister (Belinda Cotterill) in a remote farmhouse deep inside the Australian Bush country. The sister, seemingly quite disturbed, ends up leaving Ophelia alone with her drug crazed boyfriend for what is supposed to be an hour.

Of course, we know that's not how it goes.

The boyfriend, who just so happens to grow dope for a rather psychotic group of outlaw bikers, becomes increasingly psychotic himself and suddenly Ophelia finds herself spending 24 hours of torment while protecting herself and her baby from the boyfriend, Weaver (Chris Sadrinna), and the biker gang led by Turps (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor).

Despite serving up a story that never completely gels, writer/director Samuel Genocchio has crafted an involving psychological thriller that holds a tight grip on you until its unexpected ending. The truly remarkable thing about Bad Bush may very well be just how remarkably solid it is in terms of its production values, a bit of a rarity in the low-budget indie world. D.P. Paul Howard does a terrific job of using the film's lensing to establish its multi-layered mood and moments of suspense, with Veren Grigorov's memorable original score complementing it all quite nicely.

The real find of the film, though, comes with the tauntingly haunting performance of Chris Sadrinna. Sadrinna could have likely rested on his charm and good looks, but instead he turns in a performance that leaves you constantly guessing and wondering and worrying. He's constantly off kilter, but not in a way that ever seems like a caricature. It's a terrific by an actor who may be most familiar to American audiences for his performances as Mier in X-Men: Wolverine.

Aussie actress Viva Bianca is equally compelling as Ophelia, a seemingly innocent young woman who has strolled herself and her baby into what could best be described as a nightmare. Her strident initial moments give way to a greater complexity as the film moves forward, with Bianca's awkward dance back back and forth with Weaver being anxiety inducing and unforgettable.

While the production quality rocks and Bad Bush rocks, it's hard not to wish that Genocchio had perhaps fleshed out the film just a tad and allowed everything a bit more time to become cohesive. There are moments, admittedly brief ones, that feel a tad incomplete and that lack of completion does distract at times. That said, it's a relatively minor distraction for a film that is otherwise an entertaining and unforgettable thriller based upon a true story.

Bad Bush is now available from Celebrity Home Entertainment. For more information, visit the film's page on the Celebrity Home Entertainment website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic