We’ve all seen our share of female-centric survival thrillers, but this feature film debut by TV and film location managers Philip S. Plowden and Devon Colwell (Chicago P.D. and Jupiter Ascending), working as co-writers and directors, don’t allow their story to degrade into (the usual) supernatural subplots; they instead chose to focus on drama and character development over the usual ultra-violence we are normally subjected to in the female-survival genre.
Actress Celeste M. Cooper—who met the writing-directing duo as a recurring background actor on the set of Chicago P.D.—is Mel, a tough-as-nails long-distance runner taught by her father to endure pain and exist outside of her body’s physical limits. While setting a goal for herself to conquer an infamous 2,000-mile hiking trail, she puts the lessons of her father (coaching her via flashbacks) to the test when two desperate men (Sean Patrick Leonard and Michael B. Woods; both Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med acting alum) descend her into a life of terror.
The day and night outdoor photography on this by Darryl Miller (Chicago P.D., natch) is crisp and sharp; in conjunction with its tight script and pacing from Plowden and Colwell, Range Runners rises above the usual VOD streaming and Lifetime damsel-of-the-weekend product. The acting in this is superb and assures we will see more from Cooper, Leonard, and Woods on the small and big screen.
You can learn more about Range Runners through the website of Fatal Funnel Films and look for it on DVD and VOD beginning September 8.
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener by the film’s P.R firm. That has no bearing on our review.