Rust Creek (2018)

A college senior on her way to a job interview over Thanksgiving break gets lost in the Kentucky hills. Losing cell phone reception, she consults a paper map by the road when a couple of menacing rednecks approach. Attacked, she fights them off with impressive and improbable skill then takes off running. A backcountry hunt begins.

This familiar yet promising setup could’ve taken us into lurid pulp territory but instead the filmmakers opt for narrative cliches and a smattering of liberal earnestness. The crooked sheriff is in cahoots with the local drug ring and he’s willing to commit murder to protect his retirement nest egg. Tucked back in a holler all alone, an uneducated yet intelligent meth cook hides our protagonist away from his violent, rapey associates. Rust Creek would have been a better film if it had gone over the top– something along the lines of Deliverance or even Two Thousand Maniacs. Deprived of exploitation flick delirium this room temperature Appalachian noir is pretty good rather than transcendent.