*This will be a spoiler-free review, so that you’re able to enjoy the film when it releases on March 5!
Recently we had the privilege of screening 30 Miles From Nowhere, a thriller from writer Seana Kofoed, producer Kelly Demaret and director Caitlin Koller. We have been (im)patiently waiting for the film to release since the IndieGoGo campaign was launched in 2017.
The film tells the story of five friends (and one new girlfriend) who travel to the Wisconsin summer home they frequented together in their 20s, after the untimely death of their old college friend. When a storm moves in, effectively trapping them all in the woods and “30 miles from nowhere”, they “find themselves faced with the ultimate human dilemma, to kill or be killed, in
order to make it to morning.”
The film sets the tone early with an eerie, uneasy feeling which holds and only intensifies as the plot progresses. It’s pretty much a non-stop rollercoaster from there. In the beginning, you’re slowly introduced to every character and really get a feel for who their character is, what their story is and how they’re brought together. You learn quickly who was who in their friend group – and get a good glimpse of their friendship and what has happened over the years. Pieces of the film start to unravel, and that’s a credit to the brilliant script by Kofoed. There’s bits of humor throughout, cutting some of the tension of the film, but when you’re least expecting it another unexpected part of the plot is revealed.
Along with the brilliant writing, comes a brilliant director, crew and cast. Caitlin Koller did a beautiful job setting up the look and the development of the relationships of the friends in the film; pulling out great performances of each cast member. The film was beautifully shot, showcasing the area around them and really making you feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere. The film also had great cuts of shots that make the film that much more entertaining and made you jump.
As for the cast, we were of course excited to see Rob Benedict in this film as Larry, as he’s one of our staff’s favorites. The role was incredibly different from the things we’ve seen him in before and he played to his character well. His comedic timing was great, and he really gave a stellar performance; you found little movements he did or facial expressions he made really add to his performance and it was well thought-out. It was so much fun to see him in a not-so-nice role, and really showed what a diverse actor he is. If you’re fans of Rob’s band Louden Swain, there is also an Easter Egg in the film that you will want to keep an ear out for.
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Carrie Preston, as Sylvia, completely nailed her role. She made us uneasy the entire film, which is a credit to the writing, directing, and her performance. She played the character right on the edge of whether the audience could trust her or not.
Seana Kofoed was great as Elaine, and she seemed the most relatable of the bunch. She played the part well, and we give her (and Marielle Scott) even more credit for having cockroaches all over her (as you can see in the trailer!) yuck!
Cathy Shim as Bess, William Smilie as Paul, Postell Pringle as Jack and Marielle Scott as Amber rounded out the cast, and we loved each one of their characters and performances. We loved how each character had a story, which was amplified by their performances. We loved that you got to see all of their relationships – from friends who knew each other years ago, to slowly beginning to develop relationships again and seeing all of them as they share in this experience.
It’s rare in films these days – especially horror – that you get such a well-rounded cast who absolutely nail the material and keep you so engaged in the film. One of the great things about this film is the diversity of the cast. They received a ReFrame Stamp which represents supporting Women in Film.
With gender-balance and diversity as one of its core missions, 30 MILES FROM NOWHERE had a female director, writer, and producing team, and a diverse and 50% female cast and crew.
They received this because of the racially diverse and gender balanced cast, which we can’t applaud them enough for.
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30 Miles From Nowhere will keep you guessing until the very end, twist after twist, and it’s a breath of fresh air in a genre that is often far too predictable. The film was gripping until the very end and we found ourselves on the edge of our seats, asking, “What’s going to happen next?!” With many films in this genre, they’re sometimes predictable and you’re able to see the outcome of the film from a mile away. This is not the case with this film. The ending was a complete twist that left us blindsided and a more than a little blown away; it made us sit back and think, “Wow. Did that just happen?” It’s an ending that you will not see coming – and because of that, it’s one of our favorite thriller films in recent years.
30 Miles From Nowhere will be released on DVD and Digital on March 5. You can pre-order it here.