A group of friends, a cabin in the middle of nowhere and shit phone reception can only mean one thing; this film is unlikely to end well.
Caitlin Kroller’s debut feature sees a group of estranged college friends return to their old stomping ground to commemorate the death of their friend, Max. It’s not long before the tell-tale signs of a classic “cabin in the woods” horror start to appear as the group hear that a recent participant in one of Max’s science experiments has recently disappeared shortly before Max’s unexplained suicide. The title 30 Miles from Nowhere sets us up from the start and points audiences in a fairly obvious direction, at least initially.
Fans of the likes of Friday 13th (1980), The Evil Dead (1981) and Cabin Fever(2002) will appreciate the nods to the subgenre throughout as well as some of the intentionally placed laughs. It winds its way through tried and tested tropes but ends up somewhere quite unexpected. Following a group of friends in their thirties and forties is a refreshing take on this particular genre strand, normally reserved for teens, but the affects of the solitary cabin and the uncertainty of their fate certainly brings out their inner teenagers.
Carrie Preston who plays Max’s widow, Sylvia gives a good performance, the others, although solid enough, aren’t fleshed out as much as they could have been. It doesn’t hurt the film too much though, we’re not yearning for in-depth character building here, but a light-hearted semi-nostalgic trip to the woods with an unexpected bite.
Koller’s determination not to give in to an expected gore fest is commendable, the story holds itself up well enough that an insane bloodbath isn’t missed. 30 Miles from Nowhere is an enjoyable watch for any horror lover who is happy to revisit a familiar narrative while being treated to a fun twist. Koller is certainly one to watch out for following such an entertaining and ghoulish feature debut.
Director: Caitlin Kroller
Starring: Carrie Preston, Birgundi Baker, Rob Benedict, Marielle Scott, Cathy Shim