Sara West, Samara Weaving
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Like its lead characters, Bad Girl, from writer/director, Fin Edquist, is somewhat beguiling. Tearaway teen, Amy (Sara West), has been dragged begrudgingly to live in the Aussie country by her adoptive parents; the theory appears to be that a new start and fresh air will suppress her need to constantly kick against the pricks. Running away from her new home almost immediately, she comes into contact with Chloe (Samara Weaving), who takes her under her doting wing.
There’s a clear sexual chemistry between the two, told through neon drenched daydreams, which Amy is more than happy to delve into, but Chloe seems uninterested initially, though she at least tries to help Amy find her real parents. So far, so teen drama. However, the truth is unleashed, and Edquist’s film becomes an arresting thriller driven by two stellar performances.
As Amy, West captures someone losing their footing whilst trying to maintain a perfectly stylised façade of teenage rebellion. Weaving’s Chloe is utterly disarming, and appears to be one of the few people who can actually get through to Amy. When an act of vandalism leads to sex between the two, a part of Chloe is exposed that Amy initially didn’t notice. Or didn’t want to at least. Edquist doesn’t allow the film to rush to conclusions, preying upon his audience with little morsels before finally dropping a big dollop of exposition in the final act that sees Bad Girl mutate into a teenage Fatal Attraction. Admittedly, the histrionics at this juncture dangerously veer towards smothering the nuance and subtle dread that the director has built up throughout, fuelled in part by Bad Seed, Warren Ellis’ ominous score. But once we’re in the throes of it, Bad Girl still manages to be unbearably tense.