Australian erotic thriller X: Night of Vengeance more than lives up to its sleazy, grindhouse title. The credits haven’t even finished and there’s full-frontal sex; no less in-your-face violence follows shortly later. Director and co-writer Jon Hewitt wraps the sex and violence around a very basic plot. One night, two hookers, and some vile and vicious guys.
Viva Bianca plays high-class call girl Holly, a 30-year-old veteran looking to quit her profession and move to her dream city, Paris, after one last night on the job. Hanna Mangan Lawrence is naïve teenage runaway Shay, newly arrived on the streets of Sydney’s Kings Cross red light district and hopelessly out of her depth on her first night as a streetwalker.
They’re worlds apart and only hook up because Holly needs a last-minute replacement for a hotel-room threesome, but after they witness their drug-dealing client get whacked by a crooked cop they must flee for their lives together.
The ensuing chase doesn’t entirely hang together, with some twists more plausible than others, but the setting’s scuzzy, febrile atmosphere adds to the tension and the two leads hold their own, even when the violence directed against their characters becomes dangerously exploitative, verging on misogyny. Bianca, better known as Ilithyia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, is particularly good, endowing her tough survivor with both weariness and wisdom.
Released on DVD by Revolver Entertainment on Monday 20th February.