‘Rust Creek’ Mixes Female Empowerment With ‘Deliverance’ In This Solid, Well-Crafted Thriller [Review]

The Playlist | 1/2/2019 | Warren Cantrell
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Tense, relatable, and cut from a familiar narrative cloth, “Rust Creek” manages to overcome a few character and pacing issues to emerge as a quality thriller. The story of a young woman who gets lost in Kentucky’s backcountry and runs afoul of the locals, the film makes a meal out of a very thin premise, and only occasionally stretches the strictures of reason and common sense. And while “Rust Creek” stumbles over a couple of rough patches by way of a few cliché characters, the bones of a good movie are indeed here.

Efficient script work introduces the audience to the movie’s lead, Sawyer (Hermione Corfield), and the basics of her story before the credits have finished. She’s a college student on her way from her school in Kentucky to Washington, D.C. for a job interview when bad interstate traffic forces the young woman off the main route and into the sticks. Sawyer’s GPS leads her to a closed-off road well into the detour, forcing the young woman to pull over and study a map when two men happen upon her. Things take a startling turn when these men get aggressive, forcing Sawyer to flee into the nearby woods after she and her attackers all sustain injuries in a struggle.

Sawyer - Woods - Wound - Dynamic - Focus

As Sawyer stumbles through the woods hobbled by a nasty wound, the dynamic of the narrative comes into focus, what with the city kid full of book-smarts facing off against ruthless country rubes on their home turf. Sawyer might be out of her element, but her actions paint her as a woman possessed of plenty of intelligence, good instincts, and a **** of a lot of chutzpah. “Rust Creek” proceeds thus from here, utilizing a cat and mouse action trope to push Sawyer to her mental and physical limits.

Director Jen McGowan does...
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