Despite having a full bladder for the last half of "Hush," I couldn't bring myself to hit the pause button and make a trip to the restroom. That's a recommendation for this suspenseful indie thriller from the UK.

Zakes and Beth (William Ash and Christine Bottomley) make a cute couple, although their relationship isn't exactly on solid ground. For one thing, Beth's cheated on him, but hasn't yet revealed this news. For another, Zakes is frustrated at his employment situation. He wants to be a novelist, but instead has the thankless job of switching out advertisements in the restrooms of highway gas stations.

That's what we find him doing as the film opens, with Beth in tow. It's a night they'll never forget, provided they survive it. After a close call with a semi, Zakes sees that vehicle's back door fly up quickly, to reveal a nude woman screaming in a cage. Against better judgment, he decides to follow the truck in order to save the captive stranger, even if that puts Beth in danger and himself under suspicion for murder.

So much happens in "Hush" that by the halfway point, you'll feel as if you've already consumed an entire feature. That's not to say it gets boring; writer/director Mark Tonderai just keeps ratcheting the suspense. Some of the beats are too convenient, but I was perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief when the ride is set at such a high RPM.

The cover suggests Steven Spielberg's cat-and-mouse classic "Duel," but very little of the chase here is man-vs.-vehicle. I was reminded more of Jonathan Mostow's underrated Kurt Russell thriller, 1997's "Breakdown." Coincidentally, Tonderai's upcoming sophomore effort, "The House at the End of Street," comes from Mostow's mind; this feature debut bodes quite well for those prospects.

Note: The DVD must set some kind of record for bonus featurettes, with nearly two dozen. "?Rod Lott

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