Run: Mother Knows best In This Roller-Coaster of a Thriller

We’re living in a ‘Golden Age’ of content. No longer do we have to wait for the major studios to produce movies we want to see. Over the last several years, streaming platforms like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon have increasingly moved into content creation. Most recently, Netflix emerged as a big winner when the Oscar nominations were announced. American streaming platform Hulu has been producing original content for approximately a decade now. However, Hulu only recently jumped into the horror genre. But their 2020 release Run earned quite a few critical nods. From the creative team behind Searching, and starring genre favourite Sarah Paulson, Run has also established itself as Hulu’s most-watched original movie to date.


Seventeen years ago, Diane Sherman gives birth to her daughter prematurely. Now a teenager awaiting college acceptance letters, a wheelchair-bound Chloe suffers from several illnesses. Living in a sheltered house outside of Seattle, Diane and Chloe share a close mother-daughter relationship. Diane homeschools Chloe and serves as her caretaker, ensuring she takes a seemingly endless diet of pills. But when Chloe discovers something odd about her medication she suspects that her mother may be hiding a dark secret. 

Run Overcomes a Familiar Story With One Suspenseful Scene After Another

For his follow-up to Searching, writer and director Aneesh Chaganty flashes the same penchant for tight, tense filmmaking. At just 89 minutes, Run wastes little time in settings its stakes. After a dark screen flashes definitions of asthma, arrhythmia, diabetes, hemochromatosis, and paralysis, Run introduces us to the close mother-daughter relationship between Diane and Chloe. But Chaganty wastes no time disrupting this family tranquility. Once Diane raises Chloe’s suspicions, Run becomes one white-knuckle scene after another. Chaganty turns phone calls and movie dates into suspenseful moments. In particular, Chaganty stretches out these moments into excruciating endurance test.

Chaganty and Sev Ohanian’s screenplay doesn’t seem concerned about mysteries or twists.

Some viewers may complain that Run charts out a rather predictable course. And it’s true. Chaganty and Sev Ohanian’s screenplay doesn’t seem concerned about mysteries or twists. Even casual movie-goers should be able to figure out what’s going on pretty early in the movie. Of course, Run doesn’t really need ambiguous storytelling to work as a thriller. In fact, Run’s potential drawback is a climax that nearly slides into campy territory. It recalls some of the over-the-top conclusions to 90s psychological thrillers. Fortunately, Run doesn’t veer too far of course, remaining a breathless experience right up to the end.

Sarah Paulson and Newcomer Kiera Allen Turn in Riveting Performances

American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson (Bird Box) may be one of the more underrated performers today. Though horror fans best know her from her recurring appearances in AHS and, most recently, Ratched, Paulson’s varied work has earned her numerous accolades. As ‘Diane Sherman’, a well-cast Paulson delivers another riveting performance. At this point in her career. Paulson could play an unstable character like ‘Diane’ in her sleep. Here, Paulson balances a potentially campy role more akin to her work with Ryan Murphy with a more grounded approach. There’s a range to her ‘Diane’ who convinces as a devoutly loving mother and dangerously volatile person desperate to make sure her daughter never leaves.

Here, Paulson balances a potentially campy role more akin to her work with Ryan Murphy with a more grounded approach.

In her debut feature movie, Kiera Allen delivers an eye-opening performance as ‘Chloe’. She does more than hold her own in what should be the first of many roles. Run poses a physically challenging role for Allen. Outside of her role, Allen uses a wheelchair in real life as well. And it’s know this that makes some of the movie’s more dangerous moments all the more suspenseful. Like Paulson, Allen demonstrates a dizzying range in her role. Furthermore, Chaganty and Ohanian’s script gives Allen a resilient and resourceful character. Both the screenplay and Allen’s performance ensure that ‘Chloe’ is a fully realized character that never falls into the trappings of exploitation filmmaking.

Run a Thrilling Roller-Coaster of a Movie

Despite its straightforward story, Run is one of the best psychological thriller in recent memory. For his sophomore effort, Chaganty continues to prove that he’s a filmmaker to keep an eye on. And Kiera Allen is a revelation holding her own alongside another impressive Paulson performance. If it doesn’t have quite as much to say as Searching, Run is no less of a suspenseful roller-coaster. As its international debut on Netflix approaches, audiences would be well-advised to check it out.


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I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

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