Reunions with old college friends should be filled with laughs, memories, and plenty of alcohol. But when the reason behind the reunion is to bury a friend because of suicide, things can get uncomfortable quick. The recently released 30 Miles from Nowhere - written by Seana Kofoed and directed by Caitlin Koller - sees five college friends reunite for just that reason, but the gathering isn't exactly what the friends had in mind. It isn't long before things in the isolated cabin in the woods begins to become creepy and freak some of the group out. As the night progresses, it becomes a kill or be killed situation - and a mission to make it to sunrise. Who will survive, and who will perish to the secret evil lingering in the cabin? Warning: SPOILERS ahead; proceed with caution!
After arriving at the cabin and getting settled in, a bizarre aura seems to engulf the cabin as blood bursts from pipes in the kitchen and shower, cockroaches appear in the guest bedroom and cover the guests, and a strange bump in the night keeps coming from the crawl space beneath the house. But the thing that really freaks some of the guests out is the appearance of a man in the window outside: the same man they buried earlier that afternoon! From this point on, things get stranger and weirder as the friends try to decipher just what the hell is going on, and after deciding its time to get out of there, it's then they realize... they are thirty miles from nowhere.
So I went ahead and rented this film based on the trailer, which looked totally promising to be an excellent story; and while it was beautifully shot, excellent acted and even entertaining at points, for some reason 30 Miles from Nowhere just didn't wow me like I honestly thought it would. Everything seemed pretty on-point from the get go - the cast is stellar, the location is breathtaking and the story gets off to a great start - but after a half hour of the story unfolding, the film feels like it gets pretty predictable and the story itself feels a little all over the place. From the description above, you'd think the film had a certain paranormal element to it; with blood bursting out of the sink and pouring out of the shower head, two guests finding themselves covered with cockroaches and a strange thumping sound from the crawl space you'd expect out of Evil Dead, you'd think that there was some sort of bigger evil at hand lurking around the haunted cabin... but no, the real evil here is just a mentally unstable, lunatic of a wife. While she's a goddamn madwoman and puts together some pretty wickedly evil shit, the bizarre happenings are never really elaborated on; it's probably safe to assume the thumping sound in the crawl space was probably the "dead" husband being locked up, but was the evil genius also pumping blood into the pipes of the house? And did she unleash a swarm of cockroaches while her husbands friends were laying in bed? Or was that purely a coincidence? I don't know - it's never really elaborated on and honestly just kinda felt like a cheap freak-out factor added in to get the movie to continue to hold your attention. Once the story comes full circle and everything comes to light, these weird elements just hung in the back of my mind for a few days after watching the film for whatever reason.
All of that aside, though - 30 Miles from Nowhere is 30 miles from being an awful film, and I mean that in a good way! If you can look past the strange paranormal elements that go nowhere and a story that most horror fans will be able to see coming a mile away, there is so much to really like about the movie. As someone who watches a fair amount of horror, I've seen countless groups of friends who all go out to a cabin together where shit starts to get weird - but this group of friends felt so unbelievably natural and real it blew me away. Like I said, the acting in this film is honestly outstanding - these guys and girls made me honestly believe that they had known each other for decades, that's how killer the acting is in this. However, credit must be given to the star of the show who outshines everyone else in the cast, and that goes to the madwoman herself: Carrie Preston who portrays Sylvia. While the ending may have been predicted way before the movie gets there, there's no denying that Preston absolutely slays her role as the wife of the alleged dead man. Her unsettling demeanor, shifty-ass eyes and downright weird behavior will have you begging that she make an appearance in every scene; you'll find yourself sitting there anticipating the next moment Sylvia's weird-ass pops up and says or does something off putting. The character became one of my favorite madwomen we've seen in the horror genre in a while, and it's both in part of the crazy mind she has as well as the overall crazy attitude she has. Seeing her hacking up dead animals without hesitation was killer. Preston blew me away with her performance, and that without a doubt needs to be noted.
Also worth noting is that the location - this gorgeous cabin set in the woods of Wisconsin - is something one dreams of owning, even in its remote location thirty miles from anything. As the camera pans around the house and property, I found myself contemplating how much I'd love to live there, and I'd even deal with blood splattering out of the pipes and maybe a cockroach or two in my bed! All joking aside, the team behind this film nailed the location for a film that's set to be so far from anything, and the movie has the cinematography to go along with it. If there's anything to take away from this film besides Preston's performance, it's the ravishing cinematography display 30 Miles from Nowhere has. This thing is gorgeous, and it will undoubtedly keep you wowed all the way through the story telling.
So while the film admittedly feels like it just sorta failed to hit the high expectation I had for it, the film is far from bad and is definitely worth your time. It's an easy watch and will keep you engaged (like I said, you'll be impatiently waiting for Sylvia's appearance in every scene) throughout, but unfortunately just don't be surprised if you can see the twists and turns coming before they even hit. The verdict for this one: worth streaming on a free service, not really worth renting/buying.
Check out the trailer below for 30 Miles from Nowhere, available now on all streaming services!