RUST CREEK is surprisingly better than it has any right to be, given how awful 95% of these low-budget girl-in-danger movies are. This one, from 2018, adds the “lost among rednecks” variation, showing that Fear of Non-Urban People is one of the handier fallback positions for expelling your own magically non-existent cultural prejudices onto “poor white trash.” Tropes to the side, this trimfit suspense item works to reasonable effect, thanks to good performances and the smart decision of not resorting to needless punishment of either the endangered girl in question or the ick-expecting audience.
College student ‘Sawyer Scott’ (Hermione Corfield) gets her directions mixed up on a trip across Kentucky and runs afoul of two brothers, locals lowlifes who try to abduct her. Wounded while escaping them, she flees on foot into the woods. Passing out from dehydration and blood loss, she’s found by ‘Lowell’ (Jay Paulson), who tends to her in his isolated trailer. Though he’s a meth cooker, and cousin to scuzzbucket brothers ‘Hollister’ (Micah Hauptman) and ‘Buck’ (Daniel R. Hill), he means Sawyer no harm, and hides her from his bad news relatives. Meantime, the local sheriff (Sean O’Bryan) doesn’t seem too keen on actively pursuing the missing owner of the reported abandoned vehicle (Sawyer’s car). What’s his deal? She’s up a creek, it seems.
Granted, at times the detailed descriptions of meth-making almost seem like a primer, but calling it, as one critic did, a “feminist Breaking Bad“, is just a toke too far. The characters are well sketched, and the developing relationship between the gutsy and determined Sawyer and the lonely, essentially decent Lowell adds a neat wrinkle.
Directed by Jen McGowan, with a script written by Julie Lipson, in line with Lunacy Productions’ mandate to support female filmmakers, most of the key production jobs were filled by women, including director of photography (Michelle Lawler), production designer (Candi Guterres), art direction (Priyanka Guterres), costume design (Alexis Scott), and sound mixer (Kari Barber).
Not bad, with Jeremy Glazer and John Marshall Jones. 108 minutes.