From Wolf Creek‘s Greg McLean to The Loved Ones’ Sean Byrne, Australia’s been the origin of several fan-favorite genre directors over the years, resulting in an interesting wave of horror/thriller movies from the land down under. Fin Edquist is the latest Ozzie filmmaker to tackle the darker side of cinematic storytelling with his impressive coming-of-age thriller, Bad Girl.
Starring Sara West as Amy, Bad Girl tells the story of a troubled teenage delinquent who moves into a new house with her adoptive parents. Along the way, she meets the seemingly angelic Chloe, played by the insanely watchable Samara Weaving, and the two develop a close friendship. However, as her life once again begins to spiral out of control, Amy begins to suspect that there’s something wicked bubbling beneath her new friend’s innocent demeanor.
The age-old setup of a friend of the family slowly revealing that they’re not who they say they are certainly isn’t the most original plot out there, but I’ll be damned if Edquist didn’t make the most of this premise. Through slick direction and thorough character development, we’re gifted with a tight and impactful thriller that doesn’t overstay its welcome, while still relishing in moments of prolonged tension.
While the script and visuals are deftly crafted in their own right, West and Weaving own this film, with their chemistry becoming the backbone of an otherwise decent but unremarkable story. Both characters are extremely well developed, and their interactions make the whole experience worthwhile, especially when all hell breaks loose towards the end of the flick.
Despite containing some overused tropes and more than a few predictable moments, Bad Girl is a surprisingly solid psychological thriller. A lot of that may be due to the spectacular casting, but the story remains consistently believable, featuring some genuine tension and a protagonist worth rooting for.
Amy initially seems selfish and unlikable, but the film expands on her personality, making her a fleshed out and relatable character despite her wrongdoings, while simultaneously building towards the dark truth behind Chloe’s past. This tragic friendship is definitely the most memorable part of the film, though it might have worked better if the script had kept a few more secrets up its sleeve, as a few plot points are revealed way too early.
Nevertheless, Bad Girl is a thoroughly entertaining thriller, though it’s not quite a genre classic. The film gets off to a slow start and tends to drag for a bit during a few key scenes concerning Amy’s parents, but the overall experience is still remarkably solid. If you’re up for some evil teenage shenanigans and psychologically complex characters, Bad Girl is definitely worth a watch!
Bad Girl will be playing in select Cinemark theaters on November 9th as a part of Thursday Nights at The Asylum!