New Australian psychological thriller Sweet River to premiere on Netflix

Hanna (Lisa Kay) in Sweet River.

The new Australian psychological thriller and Scream-Fest International Film Festival winner, Sweet River – distributed by Filmink Presents – will make its debut in Australia and New Zealand as a Netflix Film. 

In the haunting Sweet River, Hana (Lisa Kay, Heartbeat, Vera, DCI Banks and Indian Summers) returns to the sleepy town of Billins, nestled deep in the sugar cane fields, where her 4-year-old son Joey was abducted by notorious serial killer Simpkins (Jack Ellis), and is now presumed dead. 

On hearing the news that Simpkins had died and her son’s DNA was found on his property, the emotionally damaged Hana rents a small farmhouse in the valley near to where Simpkins lived and mounts her own investigation. 

Her next-door neighbours, John (Martin Sacks) and Elenore Drake (Genevieve Lemon), own the surrounding cane fields. John and Elenore are strangely cold and distant, and the townsfolk are also hostile, viewing Hana as a meddling outsider disturbing their tightly knit farming community. This town has its secrets and a gaping, horrific wound that will not heal: several years earlier, a local school bus mysteriously ran off the road and into a river, with all the children on-board perishing in its icy waters. When Hana starts to see mysterious children in the town’s eerily rolling fields, her emotional state fragments even further. But Hana’s obsession to uncover the truth also starts to reveal the town’s darkest secrets…secrets that both the living and the dead will fight to protect. 

Boasting an overpowering sense of tension and a narrative that draws you in with quiet but undeniable force, Sweet River (which also stars Chris Haywood, Rob Carlton, Eddie Baroo, Sam Parsonson, Bryan Roberts and Jeremy Waters) is a powerful exercise in high-concept local edge-of-your-seat thrillers.

Wilkins (Rob Carlton) and Hanna (Lisa Kay) in Sweet River.

Sweet River is Justin McMillan’s directorial debut and the creator of the original film story. “For a long time, I’ve been fascinated with the power of fear as a storytelling tool. After seeing A Quiet Place, I completely reconsidered the way I looked at the horror genre and was inspired to write a psychological horror story with an emotional message”.

In a major coup for the film’s makers and its distributor, Filmink Presents (who have released a richly diverse selection of quality titles into the market, including The Legend of the Five, The Swallows Of Kabul, Hot Mess, and Netflix hit Romance on the Menu spending seven days in the top ten Most Popular Movies list in Australia, and nine days in NZ.), latest acquisition Sweet River will premiere as a licensed Netflix Film in Australia and New Zealand.

Sweet River producer Ashley McLeod comments, “Producing a film has many highs and lows, but the ever haunting question and ambition is to drive the film to audiences,” says. “I am thrilled that Netflix has seen the quality in Sweet River and I’m pleased beyond words knowing that the film will now be accessible to so many people. It is an honour to be partnering with Netflix to bring Sweet River into your lounge room.”

Sweet River was expanded into a feature screenplay by accomplished-director-in-his-own-right Marc Furmie (Terminus) and busy character actor and writer Eddie Baroo (Black Sails, Son Of A Gun).

A release date is yet to be announced. 

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