I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 156 years.
Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian
Originally set to open in movie theaters (remember those?) on Mother’s Day, the new horror/thriller Run now drops on Hulu so you won’t have to run(!) too far to watch it if you so desire. And you should desire, if only because there’s nothing else really opening and most of us are on lockdown because well, you know.
Instead of Mother’s Day, Run will open the week before Thanksgiving, so this movie was destined to open during a holiday weekend where you’re forced to spend time with people you wouldn’t normally spend time with or even like. Unless you really like to spend time with your mother, which is wonderful because I’m sure your mother is ______, at least that’s what I’ve heard from everyone. My adoptive mother was a horrible person and then she fell out of an airplane without a parachute and now she’s less of a horrible person.
Speaking of a horrible person that is also a mother, this is a totally subtle segue into Run, which features American Horror Story’s Sarah “Son of Paul” Paulson as one mother of a mother no one would envy.
Run opens in a hospital. We meet a young woman named Diane (Sarah Paulson – Ocean’s Eight) as she’s giving birth. Though the delivery was difficult, Diane has just given birth to an extremely healthy baby girl named Chloe (Morgan Freeman) and she will grow up to be a healthy young woman.
Baby Chloe is all kinds of f*cked up and Diane is wondering what’s wrong with her baby.
We ponder what’s wrong with Chloe as well but then we get a laundry list of physical maladies that take the place of actual opening credits. Spoiler alert- we get to know what arrythmia is, because Chloe has it, among 67 other things. If she had any more physical maladies, Chloe would be nominated for an Oscar and win.
We’re sure Chloe will be fine with a loving and capable mother like Diane taking care of her.
Fast forward 17 years or so into the future and Chloe (Kiera Allen) is just about to graduate high school and is waiting for numerous college acceptance letters.
Chloe’s in a wheelchair, has numerous rashes all over her back, can speak to reptiles, takes a boatload of pills every hour on the hour. Diane restricts her chocolate intake because it’ll mess up her blood sugar. Chloe has been through a lot in her young life and she’s managed to maintain a wonderful attitude and spirit in situations that would crush most people.
Chloe can’t wait to go to college, but she hasn’t gotten any acceptance letters in the mail yet. Diane has been keeping an eye out for them but says she hasn’t gotten any. Diane is sure they’ll turn up and when they do she’ll hand them over to Chloe’s grubby little paws.
Because Chloe is a fiend for chocolate, she looks for them when Diane returns from grocery shopping. She finds a bottle of pills that looks like the kind she takes. Except they have Diane’s name on them. That’s weird. Why would Diane have her name on a bottle of pills that Chloe takes?
Needless to say Chloe is more than curious. She’s always loved her mother but Chloe has thought her more than a little protective even though it’s understandable given the circumstances. But this pill bottle has set things in motion that Chloe may regret.
Once Chloe uncovers this mystery she will learn things about her mother that she can’t unlearn. Chloe will find out things about Diane that will make her want to run.
But she can’t.
Because she’s in a wheelchair.
What Works With Run
- Kiera Allen carries the movie on her shoulders and you can’t help but root for her. Chloe goes through a lot during Run’s scant 90-minute run time, some of it bordering on ridiculous. You buy it because you care about Chloe. Some of the best wheelchair acting since Corey Haim in Silver Bullet.
- Director Aneesh Chaganty (Searching) keeps things brisk with barely a moment for the audience to catch their collective breath before on to the next psycho mom set piece. It’s not wall-to-wall gore, but there is enough tension mined that the audience is on their toes even through some of the more implausible sections of Run. Credit Chaganty for structuring the scenes well enough so the audience doesn’t think about it too much until the credits. Logic Schmlogic. It’s 2020, we deserve a break from reality.
- A nerve-jangling sequence set in a movie theater provides Run’s best 15 minutes. It harkens back to a time when movie theaters were actually filled with people and the most disconcerting thing about going to the movies was whether that sticky substance you stepped in was butter “flavoring” or something else.
What Doesn’t Work With Run
- The screenplay by director Chaganty and Sev Ohanian is mostly predictable as nearly all of the twist(s) are telegraphed relatively early in the movie. It’s a tribute to the Allen and Paulson that you remain engaged despite knowing a good portion of what will happen next. Fortunately, the things you can’t foresee hit the hardest.
Run is an above average horror thriller about a below average parent. It’s harrowing at times and more than worth a run to your local movie theater, um, person with a Hulu subscription. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s not run-of-the-mill either.