"X" marks the spot for a decent little erotic thriller about a hooker whose attempt to quit the biz hits a life-threatening snag when she crosses paths with a teenage runaway.

“X” marks the spot for a decent little erotic thriller about a hooker whose attempt to quit the biz hits a life-threatening snag when she crosses paths with a teenage runaway. Atmospherically filmed in Sydney’s Kings Cross red-light district and boasting solid central perfs, pic by capable Aussie genre helmer Jon Hewitt (“Redball,” “Acolytes”) has a few flat spots, but largely delivers the goods for auds seeking low-slung fare. Released in April in a few U.S. theaters, it’s skedded to hit home turf in September, where it will likely perform modestly ahead of a more lucrative career in ancillary.

On the day before she plans to disappear to Paris, high-class call girl Holly (Viva Bianca) recruits scared teenage streetwalker Shay (Hanna Mangan-Lawrence) for a supposedly easy-money job at a fancy hotel. Gig becomes a nightmare when the two witness the murder of their drug-dealing john by Bennett (Stephen Phillips), a crooked cop associated with Holly’s obsessive client Ligurian (Peter Docker). Good suspense and an arresting tour of Kings Cross’ grungiest sights ensue as the women attempt to stay alive. Tech package is pro.

X

Australia

Production

An IFC Midnight (in U.S.)/Potential Films (in Australia) release of a Screen Australia presentation in association with Film Victoria, Rough Beast, Circe Films of a Circe Films production. (International sales: Celluloid Nightmares, Los Angeles.) Produced by Lizzette Atkins. Co-producer, Jon Hewitt. Directed by Jon Hewitt. Screenplay, Belinda McClory, Hewitt.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Mark Pugh; editor, Cindy Clarkson; music, J. David Franzke, Byron J. Scullin; music supervisors, Bernard Gallaby, Jane Jacob; production designer, Michelle Sotheren; costume designer, Vanessa Loh. Reviewed at Melbourne Film Festival (Australian Showcase), Aug. 4, 2011. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Viva Bianca, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, Peter Docker, Stephen Phillips, Eamon Farren, Belinda McClory, Darren Moss, Freya Tingley, Anthony Phelan, Hazem Shammas, Wayne Blair.

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