Where was Rust Creek filmed? All shooting locations explored

Hermione Corfield (Images via IMDb)
Hermione Corfield (Image via IMDb)

The central message that Netflix's gripping crime drama Rust Creek has for viewers is to never travel alone. The thriller is written by Julie Lipson and directed by Jen McGowan and was filmed in Kentucky, for the most part.

The film is loosely based on an original tale by Julie Lipson and Stu Pollard. Additionally, it draws inspiration from an incident that one of them experienced while in college. The movie is set in Kentucky, even though the original story was based on a drive in Maryland. The Appalachian wilderness serves as the setting for the film's primary chase.

Rust Creek premiered at the 2018 Bentonville Festival before it was released across theaters in the US on January 4, 2019. Over a year later, in November 2020, the film made its debut on Netflix and was one of the Top 10 films on the platform for over a week after its release.

Hermione Corfield is the lead character, a college student, Sawyer Scott, who gets lost while traveling from Kentucky to Washington D.C. She ends up deep in the forest and is pursued by crooks who think she may have witnessed their crimes. The roles of the criminals, Hollister and Buck are played by actors Micah Hauptman and Daniel R. Hill, respectively.

Rust Creek locations: Where was the movie filmed?

Location Kentucky (Image via IMDb)
Location Kentucky (Image via IMDb)

Kentucky is the only setting for Rust Creek, and the Appalachian wilderness is the setting for the significant chase. The movie's opening sequences are shot in Louisville, Kentucky before Sawyer takes off.

As she exits the university, Sawyer drives through the busy Kentucky metropolis of Lousiville. The majority of Rust Creek was filmed in the nearby countryside, although the actual city served as a filming location for a few old buildings that are shown flying by.

From Sawyer's car, viewers are shown highways and cliffsides, and as she goes off the interstate, the Kentucky landscape starts to shift. The director of Rust Creek took advantage of the swift change from urban to rural settings while filming.


On her way out of Louisville, Sawyer passes through several farms, fields, and a few tiny villages distinguished by their historic churches and peaceful cemeteries.

Even though Sawyer appears far from her home, the movie does not go far from Louisville. The remaining scenes of Rust Creek are set in and around the rural communities that border Louisville, such as Iroquois Park and Fern Creek.

1) Centre College: Danville, Kentucky

Centre College (Image via IMDb)
Centre College (Image via IMDb)

The protagonist of Rust Creek begins the movie by talking about her daily business at Centre College. This historic site in Danville, Kentucky, provides the ideal counterpoint to the gloom and terror ahead. The first few moments of the film depict Sawyer's hectic and bustling life in college and is neat and orderly with a distinct intellectual feel.

The opening scene of the survival thriller has Sawyer listening to a voicemail from her prospective employers confirming the interview in Washington, DC. She is then seen using the computer to look up directions for her journey while at the multi-story library.

Subsequently, there's a brief but crucial scene where Sawyer is seen crossing campus amid bustling students. Then she gets into her car and as she leaves, the actual Centre College sign is visible in her rearview mirror.

2) The Parklands of Floyds Fork

The Parklands of Floyds Fork (Image via IMDb)
The Parklands of Floyds Fork (Image via IMDb)

As she drove into the Appalachian Forest, the GPS took her deeper into the woods, leading Sawyer to seemingly lose all sense of direction. Following this, her phone suggested that she take a blocked road, only confusing her further. This is also where Hollister and Buck spot her when they were burying a body.

This part has been filmed on a road that runs through the Parklands of Floyds Fork. It is an almost 4000-acre public park in Kentucky.

3) The Appalachian Forest: Outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky

Outskirts of Louisville (Image via IMDb)
Outskirts of Louisville (Image via IMDb)

While the public park was an ideal setting for the roadside scenes of the Appalachian Forest, several forested areas were used to shoot the scenes where Sawyer is shown running.

Stu Pollard, who co-wrote the movie, views the Kentucky setting as crucial. The state was chosen as the filming location over Maryland due to weather-related conditions. The actual events that inspired the story were based in Maryland.

“The setting is so important in this film that it almost becomes a character of its own,” Pollard said.

Plot of the movie

According to IMDb, the synopsis for Rust Creek reads:

"An overachieving college student gets lost on her way to a job interview. A wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the Kentucky forest."

Rust Creek is set in the heart of Kentucky's Appalachian Forest and follows Sawyer, a college student. At the beginning of the film, she receives an invitation for a job interview in Washington D.C. and she decides to drive there. However, Sawyer chooses not to inform anyone about the interview as she fears she won't get the job.

As she drives into the Appalachian Forest, the GPS guides her deeper and deeper into the woods. At one point, the GPS also tells her to take what looks like a blocked route. This is where Hollister and Buck spot her as they are burying a body and before she can make a U-turn, the two men approach Sawyer.

The men initially claim to try and help her before inviting her for dinner. However, they are annoyed when she rejects the invitation as she doesn't trust them. This leads to a fight with Buck stabbing Sawyer in the thigh before she flees into the woods.

What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase as Sawyer tries to outrun the two men in a forest that she is unfamiliar with.

Rust Creek is available to stream on Netflix.

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