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Review: Terrific 'Run' Offers Top-Speed Thrills

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Nov 20, 2020
Kiera Allen in 'Run'
Kiera Allen in 'Run'  (Source:Hulu)

Written by "Searching" writers Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, and directed by Chaganty, the Sarah Paulsen vehicle "Run" is a fast-paced, stress-filled, old-fashioned thrill ride that will have audiences sweating and cheering in equal measure.

Originally scheduled to be released around Mother's Day, "Run" takes a nod from a real-life story (the recent Hulu mini-series "The Act") about a mother Diane (Paulsen) whose main focus in life is caring for a very sick teenage daughter Chloe (newcomer Kiera Allen). It's no surprise, however, that Chloe accidentally discovers that mom might be making her sick in order to keep her on a tight leash, as well as give meaning to her own life.

Saddled to a wheelchair with legs that don't work, incessant body rashes, and a myriad of other issues, Chloe is otherwise a normal teenage girl ready to move on to college - much to her mother's chagrin. (Not that she lets Chloe know this.) Homeschooled by mom, Chloe doesn't have much of a life (she can't even get the mail herself), but the two seem like best friends and clearly are each other's constant companions.

But when Chloe gets wind that one of the medications her mother gives her is actually prescribed for her mother, she starts to question what is going on. Soon enough, she is in the fight of her life, trying to find answers to what her mother is doing and figure out what the truth of her entire life really is.

Built on a simple premise, "Run" delivers on nail-biting scene after nail-biting scene as Chloe tries to not only uncover her mother's diabolical actions, but get someone to listen to her fears. And just like a monster, mom always seems to appear right when Chloe might be getting ahead in their little game of cat and mouse. And it all works beautifully.

Paulsen has grown to be quite an A-lister ,what with starring roles in most of Ryan Murphy's signature series and supporting roles in mainstream flicks like "Bird Box" and "Oceans 8," but here she gets to be front and center, and she sells the hell out of it.

Where this is a role that could easily have become campy and ham-fisted, Paulsen gives Diane a believable menace that is both terrifying and captivating. She moves from desperate mother to downright monster with the flick of her eyes. She's fantastic.

Equally so, newcomer Kiera Allen really shines here as the main focus of the film who does a lot of heavy lifting. Being bound to a wheelchair, the role is both physically challenging, but also forces her to be in a constant state of distress. It's demanding work, and she commands the screen just as much as Paulsen, using a different set of acting muscles.

Chaganty knows how to direct suspense as evidenced by "Searching," but the choreographed sequences here are far different from the static computer screen ingenuity of his last film. Here, the camera dodges in and out of a scene allowing us to experience Chloe's distress while cowering in mounting terror as mom foils every escape plan. He never allows either actor to sink into melodrama or camp. He simply allows these two actors to go at it in a believably diabolical way.

This is one of those fun movies that audiences flocked to in the '80s and '90s, like "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle" and "Sleeping with the Enemy." My advice to you is to run to your Hulu account and watch it as soon as it's available.

Or else mother might get mad.

"Run" premieres November 20th only on Hulu.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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