Rust Creek, 2018.
Directed by Jen McGowan.
Starring Hermione Corfield, Jay Paulson, Sean O’Bryan, Jake Kidwell, Jeremy Glazer, and Daniel R. Hill.
A college graduate on her way to a prestigious job interview gets stranded in the remote Kentucky forest. She must use all her wits to survive both the harsh outdoor elements and two murderous outlaws intent on pursuing her.
A survival thriller of relentless intensity, Rust Creek is a powerful feature from Jen McGowan (xXx: The Reurn of Xander Cage, Pride and Predjudice and Zombies).
Sawyer (Hermione Corfield) is an ambitious college senior with a seemingly bright future. While on her way to a prestigious job interview across the country, she takes a wrong turn and ends up stranded on the b-roads somewhere in Kentucky.
Things go from bad to worse when her car breaks down and she gets out to have a look. The freezing winter woods get even more inhospitable when a duo of local crooks stop by. Suddenly Sawyer finds herself lost in a strange place and pursued by two local villains.
As the weather gets progressively colder and she runs out of track, she is forced into an uneasy alliance with strange loner Lowell (Jay Paulson). The two gradually learn to trust each other, as more of their different back stories is revealed.
In another part of the land a different relationship is being played out, that of law and order. Sherriff O’Doyle (Sean O’Bryan) receives reports of a missing young woman in his county and sets about investigating. However, he is curiously slow to respond, despite the protests of his deputy (Jeremy Glazer).
The workings of small-town sheriff’s departments and the potential for mistakes, either through incompetence or malpractice, is shown here terrifyingly. This works well with the film’s main threat of the two local types hell-bent on chasing Sawyer down. The world of grim rural horror is recalled through the various chilling twists taken in the broken down country b-roads.
Male violence towards women is the central fear factor here, and it puts out the reality of such incidents strongly, without gratuitous exaggeration. The fear and alarm feels real, and Corfield portrays the battles and struggles of surviving when literally everything is against you with candour and vigour.
Remaining resolute in the face of such horror and sensing that help can arrive from the most unlikely of sources, her Sawyer is a protagonist and survivor, and not a victim.
Rust Creek is released in the USA on VOD and select cinemas January 4th
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.