One minute you’re worrying about your boyfriend meeting the folks, the next you’re fighting for your life on the streets you grew up in.
Lucy (Brittany Snow) is local to the titular town of Bushwick, it’s a quiet little unassuming borough of New York with a wildly diverse neighbourhood. She’s familiar with the sights and sounds of the city although the human fireball that greats her as she gets off the train with her boyfriend is a new one. Stepping out of the station itself puts them in an entirely different world to the one she and everyone in the neighbourhood expected to wake up to that day.
From this moment on we’re thrown into an almost real time account of her fight to survive the day, it’s lucky for her that she bumps into her own personal superhero “Stupe” (Dave Bautista) a Former Marine/Field medic who now works as a janitor in one of the buildings currently under siege. It’s not till later in the day when one of the “invaders” is captured do they realise who the enemy is… Russia?… ISIS?…. North Korea?…. Or is the biggest enemy in America today come from within?*
From the opening aerial shots from inside an attack helicopter combined with an ominous Carpinteresq soundtrack (Provided by Aesop Rock) you get a feel that this is low budget call back to the 80’s action flicks that sat on the exploitation shelf at the local mom and pop store. This feeling grows stronger as the story develops, when you learn the horror unfolding has a social commentary in the tradition of the recently passed George Romero. So if you’re familiar with those films, you’ll also be familiar with the characters. Stupe and Lucy are nothing you haven’t seen before, but perfectly fine for the environment. Stupe is silent, violent and harbouring a dark secret you can probably guess early on in proceedings. Lucy is the wide eyed hysterical college girl who adapts into a killer far too quickly but… They’re good people and you want them to succeed. Even the late addition of the comedic relief isn’t too jarring.
The real time, “one take” third person camera view is what will break the deal for fans of those movies however. It’s almost in found footage territory, just without the irritating jerky camera and illogical reasoning behind someone carrying a camera in a life threatening situation. The end result gives it a video game feel, just one you’re not able to control. Sometimes I was just willing the camera to cut to a more conventional angle to have a break. Which you need occasionally in this film, especially as it’s non stop from start to finish.
Bushwick gets a BIG yes from me, it’s a different take on a traditional story, helped considerably by it’s fortunate timing concerning the unfortunate socio political climate.
*Yeah, it’s Texas.