Directed by Philip S. Plowden
Written by Devon Colwell
Produced by Christian Crocker, RoseMary Prodonovich, Christopher Ganze
Starring: Celeste M. Cooper, Sean Patrick Leonard, Michael B. Woods
I got the opportunity to view this film a few nights ago although it premiered at the opening night of the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival April 26th. It happens to be the headline film for the night as the Feature Narrative. Another fantastic little tidbit of information that, to me, is no small feat is that the production company, Fatal Funnel Films, was founded by the film’s director/executive producer Philip S. Plowden and writer/executive producer Devon Colwell. I think that is really cool because the struggle from starting at the bottom and rising to seeing your dreams come to fruition is a constant theme throughout this whole film.
Range Runners is truly a moving story. It is a psychological thriller set in the heavily wooded area of a 2,200-mile-long hiking trail. Her goal is to make it all the way through this trail on her own, alone, with nothing but her pack on her back and her physical and mental strength to push her through. It strikes me as the kind of personal challenge one would undertake if they were struggling with a lot not only in life but, within themselves.
Mel (Celeste M. Cooper) is no exception. This gal is one tough spirit to be reckoned with. Yet, she is battling her own demons within her soul, trying to prove certain things to herself and to the ghosts of her life that seem to live in her thoughts, haunting her mind.
Mel is well prepared for this journey and has all the skills needed to survive while she makes her trek through the next 2,200 miles of her life. But things take a strange and twisted turn when she finds she is not alone on this trail like she thought she would be. Normally, even day hikers, as these two Deliverancelooking jokers claim to be, have backpacks, water bottles, hiking boots, you know, the typical gear. These shmoes don’t have anything but a blue backpack. A regular backpack like a 4thgrader uses, nothing fancy. It’s not a hiking pack with a bedroll or anything like what Mel is running with. Oh and she IS running this whole way, she takes breaks and such but, she’s definitely beating her feet like she’s running toward something or running away from something, even before she meets these two Grizzly Adams lookin’ bozos.
She is immediately suspicious and tries to put some distance between them and her. Eventually, she finds a shelter and decides to camp there for the night. When she wakes up in the morning…that’s when things take a whole new turn.
And that is all I am going to tell you.
I really liked this film. I thought they did an amazing job and although I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as horror, it definitely has the psychological aspect down. Throughout the whole film there is a sense of foreboding, a sense of ever-present unrest and uneasiness, as the film progresses on. It’s so heavy you almost start to feel a little uncomfortable, like you want to adjust in your seat or give yourself a few self-soothing touch gestures like wrap your arms around yourself or start gently rocking yourself.
It is also extremely easy to identify with Mel, at least for me. I do think that a lot of women will find it easy to relate to her character but I don’t think it’s going to be a requirement that one be female in order to find some common ground with her. I think the journey Mel goes on within herself, testing not only her personal physical limits but her psychological and emotional limits, does make this a thriller and a somewhat edge of your seat kind of movie, if you think about it in terms of the mental aspect of it.
Even though there is an entire thriller aspect of a stalking kind of sorts, it’s not exactly how you think it’s going to be. And I think this movie is meant to make you think much more than it is meant to make you feel creeped out. I think they accomplished just that. And at the end, Mel wasn’t the only one who felt like she had been on a journey and had that feeling of pride and accomplishment.