30 Miles From Nowhere Review by Staci Layne Wilson
After the suicide of their college colleague, five friends, and one new gal-pal gather to pay their respects at the isolated summer retreat they enjoyed in their youth. The creep-meter at the cabin kicks into the red-zone early on with thumping in the crawlspace, blood pouring from the pipes, and a cockroach infestation that makes everyone squirm. The man’s widow Sylvia (the excellent Carrie Preston from The Good Wife) is more than a little odd, putting the grieving party even more on-edge. Needless to say: the electricity goes out, a snowstorm comes, and when things can’t possibly get any worse, it seems the dead are walking the earth!
When the dead man returns, the friends begin to reflect on their lives, each wondering if they’re deserving, somehow, of his vengeance from beyond the grave. Here’s where the writing comes in, and it’s good: clever and cutting, yet realistic. More than just grist for the mill, each character is imbued with his or her own fully-realized set of traits and emotions. Seana Kofoed is a screenwriter to watch for (and actor—she plays Elaine in the film). The rest of the ensemble is noteworthy as well, each one believable enough with their quips and observations. Rob Benedict (of Supernatural) and, of course, Preston are the standouts.
The movie is well-shot by Ben McBurnett, who obviously had the rare luxury of time—30 Miles From Nowhere is a crowd-funded indie—to get some impressive drone aerials, crane shots, seemingly had a dolly, and he carefully crafted his lighting and composition. I was less impressed by the direction and editing; it feels like everything that was shot wound up on the screen. In a thriller, you need to not only have a body count, but you’ve also got to kill your darlings! There were several slow spots and while I like Preston and her dialogue, there is one section of the film spotlighting her that feels like a full-length Shakespeare play pontificating on and on.
Think Friday the 13th meets The Big Chill when you tune in to watch 30 Miles From Nowhere. This flick is also reminiscent of another new female-centric shocker, The Sixth Friend. And not just because of the numbers in the title—the outcome is almost the same.
30 Miles From Nowhere is worth a look—particularly if you want to support Women in Horror Month (woman director, writer, and producing team, and a diverse and 50% female cast and crew)—for fans of woods-set horror.