A man and woman out camping in the woods. A psychopath with rape and murder on his mind. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Well, writer/director Mason Howard takes it and gives it a reworking in the 15 minute short Nowhere To Run.
The plot is as basic as it gets. Max (Josh Gilmer) and his girlfriend Kelsey (Brittany Wolf) go camping. Their idyllic weekend is shattered when Buzz (Mike Ferguson, Moon of the Blood Beast, Axegrinder 2) turns up. Max initially gets rid of him but he returns, killing Max and leaving Kelsey facing a fate worse than death.
All of the acting in Nowhere To Run is solid, but Ferguson really makes the film as Buzz. He’s big and imposing but not your typical backwoods killer. He’s not a silent Jason type. He can talk, even if it’s only on the level of “I thought I smelled pussy” and similar comments. He’s also obviously spent considerable time outside of the woods, evidenced by the professional quality ink that covers most of his body.
Nowhere To Run also boasts one of the most convincingly nasty sets I’ve seen, his cabin. Strewn with garbage and pages from skin mags, I could almost smell the filth. The scene where drinks from a glass with some kind of mold growing in it made me want to gag.
The other interesting element is the message about facing one’s fears that are woven through Nowhere To Run. Max is nervous about proposing to Kelsey, her fear of bugs ruins what should have been his moment, etc. Max’s words “Sometimes you have to deal with things and not run away from them” will take on a whole new meaning in the film’s second half.
That, unfortunately, also makes the film’s one flaw so much worse. I won’t drop spoilers and give the ending away, but I found it very anti-climactic. After everything leading up to it, Nowhere To Run needed a much better payoff.
Nowhere To Run is still an above-average short. Hopefully, it will be getting festival dates in the near future.