Review: RUST CREEK (2018)

Rust Creek Poster

The latest release from IFC Midnight, Rust Creek, takes a familiar scenario and runs with it, literally. Within the first few minutes Sawyer (Hermione Corfield Slaughterhouse Rulez), a young woman on her way to a job interview, finds herself lost in the woods of Kentucky. Attacked by a pair of thugs who think she saw them burying a body she fights them off but finds herself fleeing into the woods where she is soon lost.

Director Jen McGowan (Kelly & Cal), working from a script by Julie Lipson takes this rather cliched setup and gives it a few twists. Sawyer may be out of her element, but she’s certainly tough and resourceful. Her possible savior Lowell (Jay Paulson Mad Men, Black Rock) is less than heroic, a meth cooker with ties to her assailants. But with few options, she’ll have to trust him if she wants to get out alive.

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Rust Creek is a bit of a slow burn. It runs 108 minutes and takes its time about dropping all of the pieces into place, Some of those pieces are a bit over-familiar for the genre, but they still work, upping the tension and painting Sawyer into an increasingly smaller corner until she has to act. Some, however, are going to find that pace a bit too leisurely and the interplay between the leads to feeling contrived and somewhat unrealistic.

To be honest, Rust Creek could probably lose a few minutes and be better for it. Most of the dialogue between Sawyer and Lowell works, but it has a couple of cringe-worthy moments that reminded me how unlikely the whole scenario was. However, it works for the most part and builds to an exciting enough finale.

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The publicity for Rust Creek points up the film’s female writer, director, and several other major crew members. Those thinking this will give it a different feel or perspective however will be disappointed. There’s no real difference between it and any number of similar thrillers. But that may well be the point, to say women can make the same film a man can. Whether that’s a good thing or a lost chance to tell a different story is up to the individual.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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