Rust Creek is a thriller that brings a new twist on a tried and tested formula.
Rust Creek is from director Jen McGowan (Kelly & Cal) and stars Hermione Corfield (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) Micah Hauptman (Everest) and Jay Paulson (Mad Men), and is a thriller following one woman, battling the locals and the elements, all to survive.
Rust Creek follows successful college student Sawyer (Corfield) who is heading across America for a job interview in the field she has worked her whole life for. Halfway through Kentucky, Sawyer gets lost in a forest, with two of the locals, Hollister (Hauptman) and Buck (Hill), trying to take advantage of her. Escaping them, she runs for her life, only going deeper into the forest where another local, Lowell (Paulson), offers her shelter; only not everything is what it seems for young Sawyer.
The story used in Rust Creek presents a concept we have seen many times: a young woman being hunted down by men in their local town, where they know how to track her and she must do what she can to survive. Well, it starts with that, but it does take a twist on how this unfolds because she gets a helper to protect her from the impending threat, which does have a bigger picture. This is where the story starts to feel mixed, however, because while it is nice having the villains possess motives other than being local hick-like characters, this does take away from most of the survival elements of the film as Sawyer is sheltered and barely on the run anywhere near the level we would expect. Looking through the story I do feel this is fresh because of how strong the story behind the villains is, but the lack of full backstory for Sawyer does leave a few questions out there.
The acting in Rust Creek is strong for the most part; Hermione Corfield in the leading role gives us a strong leading lady performance showing the strength required when needed while being able to make herself look like an easy victim for the villainous figures. Micah Hauptman and Daniel R Hill easily make the sleazy locals work and have good chemistry together, while Jay Paulson makes us feel uneasy around him, as we are not sure what to think about his characters.
Rust Creek uses the settings perfectly because we get to see how the new era of long-distance driving relies on GPS, which isn’t always the most reliable, without having a mapped-out route as a backup. The only issue would be that if you don’t know your American geography, you might not get the distance she is traveling. The Kentucky forest shows us how easy it can be to get lost and how the locals would use this against you while trying to hunt you down. The settings are also used for another twist in the story, showing us how this side of an operation can be achieved.
Overall Rust Creek is a thriller that will keep you guessing. It smartly gives the villains better development than many other films in the genre and most importantly keeps you guessing from start to finish.