Rust Creek: A Kentucky-Set Thrill Ride

Hermione Corfield as “Sawyer Scott” in Jen McGowan’s Rust Creek. Courtesy of IFC Midnight. And IFC Midnight release.

The Kentucky-set Rust Creek is able to catch our attention from the very get-go as this indie starts off the new year in thrilling fashion.

In its opening moments, Centre College senior Sawyer Scott (Hermione Corfield) is running laps on the grounds of Farris Stadium.  It’s only when she stops to check her voice mail when Sawyer learns that she has to be in DC for a job interview.  While a flight to DC would be easier, it’s not in the budget for a college student.  As such, Sawyer takes a road trip that should be a straight shot down I-64 soon becomes a thriller.  All because she’s forced to go on a detour in the woods of Eastern Kentucky!

Rust Creek is a survival thriller in every sense of the word.  All alone in Kentucky woods that aren’t familiar to her, Sawyer is forced to fight for her life.  It’s not just nature going against her but she has to deal with outlaws chasing her, too.  If this means teaming up with a loner, Lowell Pritchert (Jay Paulson), in hope of living another day, so be it.

I spelled trouble the moment that Sawyer listened to her phone’s GPS and took her off the interstate.  Nevermind the fact that she’s not traveling with anyone, which would have been some great advice before embarking on a journey to the nation’s capital.  This film also speaks to our dependency on our technology.  It’s great that Sawyer had an old-school map on her but what if she didn’t?!?  What would have happened then?  It’s hard to say.  When a truck just happened to pull over as she is looking at a map on the side of the road, one can only see bad news coming a mile away.  While I don’t wish to imply what’s about to happen, the writing is on the walls.  That’s not to say that this is a cliched thriller because it most definitely is not.

Director Jen McGowan’s second feature is shot entirely on location in Kentucky.  Let me say how I love that the filmmakers take advantage of the scenery.  Filmmakers don’t often choose to set their films in Kentucky.  Sometimes they set films in Kentucky while choosing to film these scenes in other states altogether.  But when they do film in the Commonwealth, I enjoy every minute of it.  Whether it’s the aerial views or whatever, the camera is able to beautifully capture the Commonwealth.

With Louisville Film Society chairman Stu Pollard on board as a producer for Lunacy Productions, it’s no surprise to see Nice Guys Sleep Alone star Sean O’Bryan show up in the film as Sheriff O’Doyle.  This is Pollard’s eighth film that has been shot in Kentucky, whether in part or in full.  Other people with Kentucky ties include Daniel R. Hill (Buck Pritchert)

College may not prepare you for the thrilling ride that Rust Creek is but it is certainly a thrill.

DIRECTOR:  Jen McGowan
CAST:  Hermione Corfield, Jay Paulson, Sean O’Bryan, John Marshall Jones, Daniel R. Hill, Jeremy Glazer, and Micah Hauptman

IFC Midnight opens Rust Creek in select theaters and Digital/VOD on January 4, 2019.  A theatrical expansion will follow, including the Village 8 in Louisville, Ky. on January 11, 2019. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.