Rust Creek is a thriller with so much more potential than what we see on the screen. It’s being released by IFC Midnight, which tends to be a good sign. I wanted to like it so badly, but it just didn’t happen!
Rust Creek is a thriller that has plenty going for it. Unfortunately, so many tropes come into play. I found myself both squirming in my seat and rolling my eyes while hoping it would get back on track.
It never really did.
The movie has a young female protagonist, is co-written by a woman, and directed by a woman. If I didn’t know this I would have never guessed that it was the case.
The story of a woman left to defend herself has been told in the same way by many men before. Rust Creek isn’t any worse than any of those. But it could have been so much better!
Just stay in your car
In the very beginning of Rust Creek our female protagonist, Sawyer (Hermione Corfield), gets lost. To avoid traffic, she tries to take a few back roads and the GPS is as lost as she is. So far, I’m onboard with the story.
However, just to be clear, we don’t really know this Sawyer character yet, and that is a problem. I need to have some idea about who she is. Or at the very least, I need to care whether she lives or dies. I mean, of course, I do in any case.
But this is a horror thriller with a story to tell in less than two hours. So give me a chance to get involved.
Anyway, when both the GPS and Sawyer is lost, she turns to a good old paper map. She exits the car to use the hood of the car as a table for her huge map.
This is when two men come along and exactly when Sawyer should have rushed to get into her car again.
We can tell from her demeanor that she knows these guys are up to no good. And she’s right. She does react in a pleasantly surprising proactive way. But it’s too little and too late.
Less is more
The real problems begin when she’s trying to run away from the two men. She runs into the woods. And having already sustained a bleeding wound to her leg, she takes off her sweater and dabs a bit at the wound. Then she discards the sweater and keeps running.
Mind you, this is just minutes after one of the men told her that it gets very cold at night. He does so as he asks her to join them at their house nearby.
Oh yeah, he’s every bit as creepy as he can be. But it does actually work pretty well for this part of the story. Later on, it almost feels as if we’re meant to pity him for a minute. Something that I would never do.
Also, we get to hear Sawyer giving herself little pep talks along the way. This is clearly meant to keep the audience in the loop more than doing anything for Sawyer. At least that’s what it feels like. But I still don’t know this Sawyer girl enough to be sure.
As the movie progresses, she learns how to cook meth to stay alive. No, I’m not joking. And yes, it’s all very strange.
It’s not all bad
Honestly, it’s not that Rust Creek isn’t entertaining. It’s just deliriously predictable. And, unfortunately, it’s in the kind of way where you’re wishing for the characters not to do something, and then they do that exact thing. It’s just irritating.
As a whole, the cast in Rust Creek isn’t bad. I know that doesn’t exactly sound good either, but I don’t think the problem is with the actors. In fact, several gave very interesting and engaging performances.
And I must admit that the meth-cooking character, Lowell, was one of the best in the movie. He stole every scene!
Lowell was played by Jay Paulson who is part of the upcoming miniseries I Am the Night. The TNT show is produced by Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine, who also directs and stars (respectively) in I Am the Night. It’s based on Fauna Hodel’s life story and involves the infamous Black Dahlia murder case.
Director Jen McGowan is better than this so I don’t know exactly what went wrong. Maybe my disappointment is with the fact that Rust Creek could have been a much better movie. And I just can’t imagine the end result is the movie they wanted.
If you love survival movies, you should give Rust Creek a chance. But if you want to watch a good survival movie, then you should go for Revenge instead. That movie also has a female protagonist and the female director wrote the screenplay.
Oh, and if Rust Creek does work for you, then Revenge should definitely be the next movie you watch. It even made it to our Best Horror, Thriller, and Sci-Fi movies of 2018 list, which you can look over here >
Rust Creek will be in theaters and on VOD from January 4, 2019. The movie will also be out on Netflix (US) from November 30, 2020.
Director: Jen McGowan
Writer: Julie Lipson
Cast: Hermione Corfield, Jay Paulson, Micah Hauptman, Sean O’Bryan, Daniel R. Hill, John Marshall Jones, Jeremy Glazer
An ordinary woman must summon extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller. Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) is an ambitious, overachieving college senior with a seemingly bright future. While on her way to a job interview, a wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the frozen Kentucky woods. Suddenly, the young woman with everything to live for finds herself facing her own mortality as she’s punished by the elements and pursued by a band of ruthless outlaws. With nowhere left to run, she is forced into an uneasy alliance with Lowell (Jay Paulson), an enigmatic loner with shadowy intentions. Though she’s not sure she can trust him, Sawyer must take a chance if she hopes to escape Rust Creek alive.