Photo by: Sarah Enticknap/Netflix
Run Rabbit Run isn’t the type of horror film that’s going to keep you up at night or have you jumping at every sound you hear in your home. It’s more of a complex take of cinema that dives deep into the reality of how childhood trauma can be more damaging and horrifying than anything deemed spooky depicted on screen.
Written by Hannah Kent, in her theatrical feature film debut, and directed by Daina Reid (Shining Girls, The Handmaid’s Tale), Run Rabbit Run premiered Wednesday, June 28th on Netflix. Sarah Snook (Succession) stars as a fertility doctor named Sarah who is grieving the recent death of her father while prepping for a birthday celebration for her daughter Mia played by Lily LaTorre (The Clearing), whom she shares custody with her ex Pete played by Damon Herriman (Justified). As Mia turns seven, Sarah notices strange behavior in her daughter. Coincidentally, seven is the same age Sarah’s younger sister Alice (D’Arcy Carty) went missing and Mia starts to refer to herself as Alice requesting to see Sarah’s estranged mother Joan played by Greta Scacchi (The Player) and walking around many times in the movie with a paper mask resembling a rabbit.
Most of Run Rabbit Run drags in the 1 hour and 40-minute running time. The film consists of creepy drawings made by Mia, repetitious hallucinations on Sarah’s part, mysterious nose bleeds and other injuries on Mia and a slow-moving reveal of what happened to Alice. The jump scares in the film are few if any, depending on how you consume horror. This movie is really a metaphorical scare than a film that features a creature, intense violence, or an evil entity to be wary of.
Fans of Sarah Snook will revel in seeing the actress in something so soon after the conclusion of HBO’s Emmy winning series Succession, and while Snook does provide a captivating performance, that’s one of the few things that was interesting about Run Rabbit Run. Sarah’s solo scenes were only elevated by the ones alongside her younger co-star Lily. I typically don’t like children in horror movies. They can come across as obnoxious especially in heightened situations, but Lily’s performance was reminiscent of Noah Wiseman’s character Samuel in the 2014 film The Babadook starring Essie Davis, who played Samuel’s mother Amelia. Lily was scared when she needed to be and someone to fear in other instances perfectly balancing Sarah’s unhinged delusions and distraught demeanor.
In essence, viewers can draw comparisons to The Babadook and Run Rabbit Run in ways of mothers dealing with trauma and how that trauma gets passed down to their children manifesting itself in ways that are damaging to all involved.
Cinematographer Bonnie Elliott does a stellar job capturing the bleak and stunning Australian landscape that adds to the building tension of the film that doesn’t play out all that well. By the final act, Sarah’s dark past is revealed but leaves a questionable ending by the time the credits roll. When the screen went black, I couldn’t believe the movie was over and I was left with more questions than answers. Run Rabbit Run tries to tell an intriguing original story but with a conclusion that falls flat and I was left running to the home button quickly seeking another film to watch.
Run Rabbit Run is streaming now on Netflix.