30 MILES FROM NOWHERE
(director: Caitlin Koller; screenwriter: Seana Kofoed; cinematographer: Ben McBurnett; editor: John Quinn; music: Rene G. Boscio; cast: Carrie Preston (Sylvia), Rob Benedict (Larry), Rusty Schwimmer (Officer Marsh), Cathy Schim (Bess), Marielle Scott (Amber), Seana Kofoed (Elaine), Postell Pringle (Jack), William Smillie (Psychiatrist); Runtime: 83; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kelly Demeret/Seana Kofoed; Film Camp Productions; 2018)
“Leads to a surprising climax, that’s smartly done and quite unexpected.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A ‘cabin-in- the- woods’ comical-nightmarish tale helmed with love for the genre in her feature film directorial debut by the Australian filmmaker Caitlin Koller. It was shot on a modest budget. It’s tautly written by Seana Kofoed, who also plays a lesbian and was a co-producer.Five old friends go to the country for the funeral of a former college pal named Max, who committed suicide, and stay in the Wisconsin woods they loved from their school days. But things will turn into a nightmare for the now adults.
Larry (Rob Benedict), Bess (Kathy Shim), Elaine (Seana Kofeod), Paul (William Smillie), Jack (Postell Pringle) and his new girlfriend Amber (Marielle Scott) are up for staying over in Max’s old cabin to reunite their friendship and bring back college memories, but are warned by Max’s daffy cautionary widowSylvia (Carrie Preston) that the cabin is far from civilization and from help if needed. At the creepy cabin the drunk friends are too out of it to be bummed out by the dead rats on the premise, blood spouting from the shower head and cockroaches in the beds. They go pronto into a group talk addressing their lives as young adults, their antagonisms to each other, the expectations they must now deal with in the real world and the women talk about their particular gender problems (it’s a women friendly film). The women seem complex, while the men come across as stereotypes.
Meanwhile the widow seems like a polite stranger misplaced in the company of Max’s former friends. The cabin stay, where all the characters reveal themselves, leads to a surprising climax, that’s smartly done and quite unexpected.
The result is an effectively well-developed group of characters, a smart script and a well-crafted film. It’s a classy pic for the much maligned horror genre, one that comes with a stunning payoff while the bodies are piling up amidst so many spooky things happening.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019 GRADE: B