A teenage girl named Chloe Sherman (Kiera Allen) begins to suspect that her mother Diane (Sarah Paulson) is hiding a dark and sinister secret from her after she begins to notice strange things about her behavior.
Who would have thought that a movie set entirely on a computer screen would have been so good and so captivating? I certainly didn’t. But up-and-coming filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty did exact that with his 2018 feature debut Searching. Not only was it one of the only truly terrific films that year, but it was one of the most astonishingly intense thrillers in years. Even still to this day, it holds up better than some thrillers from years ago.
Although it was entirely told from the perspective of a computer, it was terrifying. A father must do absolutely everything he can to find his missing daughter within the tightly-compact one-hundred and two-minute running time that feels so much longer due to your nerves and anxiety being tested all the way to the ending.
It was such a memorable surprise from that year, which is why I was so excited to check out Chaganty’s sophomore outing Run, which was supposed to be released back on Mother’s Day but was ultimately delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But, fear not, as Run has found a new home at Hulu and is available for you to watch now. And trust me, you’re going to want to.
Similar to Searching, this is an incredibly intense and claustrophobic thriller. While Searching may be more nerve-wracking in the long-run, Run is most certainly more claustrophobic, since it almost entirely takes place within the Sherman family house, which as you’ll see throughout the film, is not a place that you’ll be comfortable looking at.
It is made abundantly clear right from the start that Diane and her daughter Chloe do get along with one another, but Chloe does suspect that something is amiss with her mother. Diane is giving Chloe pills that Chloe doesn’t know of due to her disability, but she just brushes it off and starts taking them. However, she soon notices that the pill bottle actually has her mother’s name on it, which is when this thriller starts to really kick into gear.
Sarah Paulson delivers easily one of the best performances of the year as Diane, and perhaps one of the best performances of her career. She constantly feels intimidating and you’ll always feel a little bit unsettled while watching her on-screen. Even when she is doing something extremely mundane like gardening, there is always a strange and uncomfortable presence to her that will leave you guessing all the way to the end.
Similarly great is Kiera Allen as the daughter Chloe. Throughout the film, she constantly uncovers more puzzle pieces and when she unearths a disturbing secret, we feel shocked as well. She is a protagonist that is easy to root for, and you’ll be doing so all the way through.
When it comes to faults here, there aren’t too many. Run does feel a little bit short at only ninety minutes including credits. It doesn’t have too much room to try anything daring or bold, but rather, it focuses on telling a simple yet eerie tale, and it mostly succeeds at doing that. It’s nowhere near as anxiety-inducing and stressful a watch as Searching is, but Run is proof that Chaganty is going to be one of the most promising directors out there in the future.
Run is a riveting exercise in the thriller genre with its excellent aura of suspense lingering throughout mixed with its unsettling performance from Sarah Paulson.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for disturbing thematic content, some violence/terror, and language
Directed by: Aneesh Chaganty
Distributed by: Hulu
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Running Time: 90 minutes