rust creek | jen mcgowan | julie lipson | hermione corfield | denise dal vera | jeremy glazer | drama | thriller | united states | micah hauptman | daniel r. hill | sean o'bryan | jay paulson | laura guzman | john marshall jones | jake kidwell | virginia schneider
Film: Rust Creek
Director: Jen McGowan
Writer: Julie Lipson
Starring: Hermione Corfield, Denise Dal Vera and Jeremy Glazer
This was a film I got turned on to from a site that I write news articles for. This was listed in the January releases of new horror films and I added it to a list for when I needed a 2019 release to watch to keep up with my year end list. I came in blind aside from that so I was interested to see how this film played out. The synopsis is an overachieving college student gets lost on her way to a job interview. A wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the Kentucky forest.
We start this off with our star Sawyer (Hermione Corfield). She is at a track and she gets a voicemail. The Thanksgiving holiday is coming and instead of coming home to spend time with her family, she’s going to Washington D.C. for a job interview. We learn later that she didn’t tell anyone just incase she doesn’t get the job.
Things take a turn though when she hears over the radio about an accident that is slowing things down. She re-routes her GPS that takes her off the highway into a rural, woods area. The map directs her to a road that is closed. She continues on, hoping that it will give her an alternative route. The problem though is that it doesn’t, it continues to want her to take a U-turn. She pulls into a place to see if she can get it to correct itself. It then shifts to a perspective from the woods. Someone asks another person there if they think she saw them, but when it shifts back to Sawyer, she cannot.
Sawyer finally gives up on the phone and finds a map. She pulls over to use it to figure out a new way to go. That is when a couple of local brothers pull up. Hollister (Micah Hauptman) is the small of the two and the brains of the duo. The other is Buck (Daniel R. Hill). Hollister asks if he can help and she finally gives in to ask for directions. Things take a turn though when they attack her. She does get away, leaving her vehicle there. She goes into the woods, but she was stabbed in the leg from a knife that Buck had. The men give chase and have to find her.
We end up learning that these two are always in trouble. The local sheriff, O’Doyle (Sean O’Bryan) is hard on them, but will also go to bat as they’re locals. This draws some questions from his deputy Katz (Jeremy Glazer). A report comes in about the abandoned vehicle and O’Doyle doesn’t seem too interested. Katz on the other hand wants to figure out what is going on.
Sawyer is all alone in the woods and has to try to find her way. She is taken in by Lowell (Jay Paulson). He cooks meth in a trailer and we learn he’s cousins with Hollister and Buck. There’s an interesting plot here with these three and the area that they live in. The thing is can Sawyer get away before it is too late or does she know too much?
This film has a plot that isn’t exactly new, but I will admit, it did things that kept me interested. I like the establishment of Sawyer for sure. The synopsis states she’s an overachiever, I didn’t necessarily get that, but I do think that it does establish well is that she is constantly on the go and is trying to make her own way. I know she’s nervous about failure, which I can definitely connect with. Her will to fight and that she’s smart works well being lost in the woods like she is.
There’s also the interesting dynamic of these three hicks that she has a run in with. The backwoods vibe is one that can be quite scary, especially since I’m from a small area that is pretty tight knit. Going from there though, I like the reason that Hollister and Buck go after her is something that we don’t necessarily see in films a lot and I thought it was an interesting take. Lowell is intriguing to me what he does for her when he really doesn’t have a reason to. The more the plot is revealed, the true nature of all these characters comes out.
I wanted to move next to the pacing of the film, which I actually didn’t have an issue with. I think it does well in establishing our heroine and then putting her in the situation she is trying to survive. It feels like at a good interval are we given the back story to the characters that she meets so that really kept the movie interesting. I will say that it is a bit too long. I do think some of the aspects between Sawyer and Lowell could be cut. I think we definitely need some of it, but it does linger a bit too much there for me. I did like the ending and we had some good foreshadowing with things that are introduced.
That takes me to the acting of the movie. I personally liked Corfield. I thought she brought strength to the character and also a bit of naivety. What I like here though is that she really doesn’t do anything wrong aside from getting out of her vehicle to find a way back to the highway. It really is scary, because I could see myself doing something we see here. Hauptman and Hill I thought were both solid as well. They don’t really seem like horrible people, but they decide to do bad things and the reason behind it makes sense. I also thought O’Bryan was solid and I really like Paulson. His motives don’t really make sense, but I thought the more we get to know him, the more I liked him as a human. The rest of the cast I thought rounded out the film for what was needed.
I think next I should go over the effects of the film. To be honest, there really aren’t a lot, but it doesn’t necessarily need them. This is definitely a lot more psychological as we kind of get a variation of Stockholm syndrome. I will say that the blood we get and the wounds we see do look real. There was some CGI fire that happens during the climax that doesn’t look good. It is hard to harp on it as fire is a difficult thing to do this way and some films I love fall into this issue. I also thought the movie was shot very well. It really establishes the woods as an oppressive thing as Sawyer can’t just walk out to freedom. If she goes too far, she’ll get lost.
Now with that said, I didn’t love this movie, but it definitely was enjoyable. I was actually questioning while watching this if it is actually horror and I think that it is a dark enough feel to fit the genre. The concept isn’t anything new, but there’s enough of a variation that it does work for me. I also think that the acting is pretty solid across the board to help bring these characters to life. The tension is built throughout the film, but I will say that I think it does run a bit long. Not that it got boring; there are just some parts that weren’t really needed in my opinion. There’s not a lot in the way of effects, but the practical ones we get worked. I did have some issues with the CGI fire I saw here though. The last thing is that the soundtrack really didn’t stand out or hurt the movie overall, it did fit from what I could tell. I would say that this one is above average overall and would actually recommend this to genre and non-genre fans alike.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10