Movie Review: Run
Run is a suspense thriller about a mother and daughter. Chloe, the daughter, was born needing a tremendous amount of care. Diane, the mother, is dedicated to caring for and helping her daughter. Yet, as Chloe is on the cusp of college, she discovers a strange new pill among all of the pills in the regiment she takes each day. The pill sends her down a rabbit hole and helps her discover a dark secret her mother's been keeping from her. The film stars Kiera Allen, Sarah Paulson, Sarah Sohn, and Pat Healy. The film is written by Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian and is directed by Chaganty. The film is streaming exclusively on Hulu.
I really liked Aneesh Chaganty's previous film Searching and I really liked Run as well. Obviously it's an entirely different animal directing a film that mostly takes place within a computer like Searching to directing a domestic horror like Run and I think Chaganty deftly pulls it off. He and co-writer Sev Ohanian have a knack for building a story and not giving too much of the game away.
Even after a little less than halfway through when a piece of the game is revealed, there is more and more to go. There is just enough at the beginning to make us question the reality of the situation. Chloe being homeschooled, not having a smart phone and the food grown on the property are big hints that something else is going on. It's hard to write about these details without giving away the major plot points, but Run has an even better secret weapon on its side.
Inclusion is a hard fought battle for any minority group. It's truly exciting to watch a film where a person is living with a disability and in someways thriving. Not only that, but it's even more heartening to know that an actor who is a wheelchair user herself was hired for the role. So often films like this will hire an able bodied actor, but Run is able to inject that much more authenticity into the proceedings.
Not only that, but it gives new context to one of the best scenes of the film. Without giving too much away, I will briefly describe the action. Chloe is trapped in her room. She thinks of a truly brilliant plan to get from one end of the roof to the other where there is a window she can climb into to get to where she needs to be. It's the most tense scene watching her climb across that expanse, knowing she's brought every tool to accomplish her task except the one thing she needs to sustain her life. I really loved that Chaganty and cinematographer Hillary Spera give us a wide shot to establish just how far Chloe has to go on the roof to reach the other window. It's an incredible physical performance by Kiera Allen.
Though, not all of Run is as perfect as that scene. There are some silly sight gags that take me out of it like them going to a movie called Breakout and the pharmacist having a picture of her team winning an escape room. O.K., we get it, Chloe needs to get out of the house. Some of the final revelation is a little eye-rolling as well, especially as it comes in the form of a box containing all the exposition necessary. I also didn't care for the epilogue ending. I felt it diminished some of the character development and I tend not to like complicated and devious revenge.
I will say Sarah Paulson has cornered the market on manipulative deviousness and is devilishly good as always, but my favorite performance is that of Kiera Allen as Chloe. Allen is emotive and physical in all the right ways. She pulls off every emotional beat and makes me believe entirely in Chloe's intelligence and yearning to experience the world. Allen shows how capable an actor living with a disability can be and I truly hope this is the start of a long career for her.
I really like a trapped in the house thriller and Run certainly puts a terrific new spin on the subgenre. It's an excellent follow up to Aneesh Chaganty's Searching. It's not perfect, but it will give you a good thrill with some terrific central performances. Give this one a shot.