Cast: Hermione Corfield, Jay Paulson, Sean O’Bryan, Micah Hauptman
Director: Jen McGowan
Another on-demand movie, another chance for a smaller-budget film to come out of nowhere and surprise me. With Rust Creek, we get just that with a movie loaded with captivating performances and an interesting story even if it has the flaws you’d see in a typical thriller. Powered by an amazing lead performance by Corfield, Rusk Creek combines well-written characters and dramatic elements with a story that grabs your attention. While the cinematography and supporting actors may hold the film back at times, it doesn’t prevent it from being an incredibly well-made, low-budget experience.
The film follows Sawyer (Corfield) a college student in Kentucky who is driving to Washington D.C. for a job interview. When she ends up getting lost in a rural Kentucky town, she asks for help from two strangers, Hollister (Hauptman) and Buck (Daniel R. Hill). When these strangers turn violent with Sawyer, she escapes wounded into the woods with the two of them right behind her. Sawyer must do whatever it takes to survive, even if it means teaming up with Lowell (Paulson), another sketchy stranger she meets during her journey. The main reason why this film is so successful is due to the performance of Corfield in the lead role. Noting that Corfield is a British actress, it’s amazing to see that accent coming out of this actress and shows that she diligently prepared for the role. Outside of her accent, this role is incredibly demanding, both physically and emotionally, and Corfield never misses a beat the entire time. Whenever she’s on-screen, she completely steals the scene and shows us that she is very capable of handling herself in a lead role. If Corfield gets put in some higher profile movies in sizable roles, there’s a very solid chance she could be a major actress one day. While Paulson has his moments of success, since most of his scenes are with Corfield, he tends to get overshadowed by the immense talent that she brings to the screen. While the acting tends to be the highlight of the film, that doesn’t mean the film is without its faults. For one thing, the cinematography includes my least favorite gimmick of all time; scenes where characters are running through the woods and the camera shakes like it’s on a boat. Granted, the film corrects itself soon after by switching to my preferred method of switching angles to show urgency, but it’s still prominent enough to notice and take you out of the film for the moment. Outside of that, some of the minor characters are kind of generic and could’ve been more developed or unique within the context of the movie. Mainly the two antagonists and Sheriff O’Doyle (O’Bryan) tended to be a little on the cookie-cutter side of things and had the potential to be something a little more than ordinary. While their actual acting is fine and the characters serve as formidable obstacles for Sawyer, I wish there was some sort of extra element to take these characters and use them to turn this film into something elite.
Overall, I give smaller budget movies a little bit of leeway since they may not have the resources to fix problems in the same way that a major studio release may be able to, but honestly Rust Creek’s problems aren’t very significant. If anything, this movie will be remembered as the movie where Corfield showed us she is ready to make the next giant leap forward in her career. I wish this had gotten a wider release, as the acting and suspense alone are two primary reasons why Rust Creek stands out amongst most of its competition.
Overall Score: 7.5/10