“Run” stars Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Pat Healy, and Sara Sohn. Released on Hulu on November 20, 2020, the film is about a teenager who discovers her mother’s deadly secret.
The film is directed by Aneesh Chaganty, who also directed “Searching”. A mother’s love is undeniably sentimental, but it can also be quite deadly if her actions are called into question. It’s actually been a while since I reviewed something from Hulu, so I guess now would be a good time to get back into it, starting with this. This latest thriller sees the return of writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, who has made his presence known with his successful debut, “Searching”, two years ago. In case you haven’t realized, I absolutely loved “Searching” because of its heart-pounding thrills and its well-executed mystery aspect, so when I heard that Chaganty is working on his next project, my curiosity immediately spiked within seconds. It also got me interested in seeing if he can capture lightning in the bottle for the second time without having it set on a single computer screen. The film was originally set to hit theaters during Mother’s Day weekend, which makes sense given its concept, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to be pulled from the schedule indefinitely. Some time later, its distribution rights were purchased by Hulu, and the rest is history. Now that it’s here at last, does it meet my expectations?
The story follows Chloe Sherman (Allen), a wheelchair-bound teenager who is living at home with her mother Diane (Paulson). Everything seems to be normal until Chloe uncovers some terrifying secrets that forces her to question her relationship with Diane as well as herself. She attempts to learn more about these secrets while staying one step ahead of her so-called “mother”. This is another film that challenges its viewers to explain the plot to other people without giving away some major spoilers so that they too can experience it for themselves. This is something that I appreciate because of how they incorporate the element of surprise into their storytelling. With the right execution, it could wind up being an event that will leave people speechless…or give them heart attacks from the endless amounts of suspense. Similar to “Searching”, Aneesh Chaganty delivered a heart-pounding and limited story that took advantage of its twists and tension to keep itself from losing interest in its characters and the scenarios that they’re in. While it failed to catch lightning in the bottle for the second time when it comes to its emotional themes, the film successfully showcased Chaganty’s undeniable skills as the master of suspense. From its technical aspects such as the cinematography and the editing to its brilliant cast, “Run” is a nonstop thrill ride that refuses to let you breathe until the very end. Not literally because that would be awful. To best describe Sarah Paulson’s performance as Diane, I would say that it took the pages straight out of Toni Collette’s acting book in “Hereditary”. Yeah, it’s that good. Paulson was extremely haunting and riveting in her role, but she didn’t get to the point where it became campy, making her performance even more special. Kiera Allen also shines in her breakout role as Chloe, a character who is disabled, but also smart enough to make me root for her survival. As I mentioned before, what makes the film’s suspense so effective is not just the story itself, but also the characters and the situations they put themselves in, which is where Chloe comes into play. Throughout the film, Chloe attempts to figure out the truth behind her mother, but she is restricted by her symptoms like her asthma and her paralysis. These traits alone, combined with Allen’s performance, helped provide enough anxiety in Chloe’s scenarios to make plenty of viewers say “oh my god” multiple times. The scenarios were also well-executed by Chaganty’s tight direction, its solid screenplay, and Torin Borrowdale’s score. Borrowdale previously collaborated with Chaganty in “Searching”, which also has a good soundtrack, so I can see why these two reunited for “Run”. The score in this film is pretty much what I expected when it comes to its tone: intense and nicely-crafted. The only problem I had with the film was the third act, most particularly the final 15 minutes of it. Without spoilers, the film had a very enticing set-up followed by a couple of interesting twists during the second act. The finale kept it from being a perfect experience by borrowing a few elements that we’ve seen in other thrillers. It’s a good finale, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I was expecting a bit more out of it in terms of its characters and themes. I prefer the finale in “Searching” because of how well Chaganty provided the emotional depth in the characters’ relationships.
Overall, “Run” is another thrilling experience that you have to see for yourself. Not only that, but it is also a stellar sophomore debut from Aneesh Chaganty. Despite its minor issue with the third act, the film effectively combines its twisty and haunting concept with some strong performances, its gripping script, and Chaganty’s ability to provide strong tension. After making two solid films, Chaganty has definitely proven himself to be a confident and talented young filmmaker when it comes to the mystery thriller genre, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. It’s worth checking out on Hulu if you’re a fan of mystery films. Also, if there are any mothers out there who are reading this review, remember this: If you really love your child, don’t be a Sarah Paulson.