23rd Sep2020

‘Range Runners’ VOD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Celeste M Cooper, Sean Patrick Leonard, Michael B. Woods, Tiffany Renee Johnson, Sarah Charipar, Carl Clemons-Hopkins | Written by Philip S. Plowden, Devon Colwell | Directed by Philip S. Plowden

Directed by Philip S. Plowden in his directorial feature debut, and written by Plowden and Devon Colwell, Range Runners follows a woman named Mel (Celeste M Cooper) who is hiking a trail with a whole head full of bad from her past to deal with. She’s on this hike when she runs across two guys, Wayland (Sean Patrick Leonard) and Jared (Michael B. Woods) who are hiding out in the woods and it’s now up to Mel to either run away or fight back against these scumbags.

It’s a cool and simplistic concept and one that isn’t dissimilar to other thrillers that take part in rural areas and involve a woman fighting back, be it Revenge, I Spit on Your Grave or a whole range of others. I had fun with this film, I must say. Cooper does a fine job in the lead role. She’s easy to relate to and get behind. You want to see her fight back against these villains. Oh, the villains… they’re good here too. Leonard is a vile prick in his role of Wayland, and does a good job at being that necessary evil, and Woods’ Jared does a nice job as the lackey. It works well and flows easily. I am always curious when a debut hits and this is a solid one from Plowden. Range Runners might stretch itself a little too thin and could have used perhaps ten or fifteen minutes being trimmed off, but regardless of that it looks good, is acted well and the script mostly isn’t bad at all.

There’s an intensity to Range Runners, and an atmosphere of impending doom that always works well in thrillers of this ilk. The music from Richie Palys works in harmony with the tone of the film, and though this is an indie title, the cinematography from Darryl Miller (Under the City) is on point. I thought the whole film was a successful foray into hike-horror.

The location is pretty damn beautiful to look at, and the three characters we spend the majority of the film with all give good performances. Cooper, especially, takes the film and carries it on her back like a pack, and does so confidently. Range Runners was a surprising film, for sure, because I had no clue what to expect, what I got was a riveting, exhilarating, tense thriller that delivered throughout it’s runtime for the mostpart. A tad long, sure, and with a couple of questionable dialogues, the small nitpicks are just that, small. This is a really enjoyable entry into the sub-genre, and I do recommend this. Check it out.

***½  3.5/5

Range Runners is out on VOD now, in the US, from from Dark Star Pictures and Uncork’d Entertainment.


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