Is grief the new trend in horror media? I’m not sure if I’m the only one noticing this pattern in a lot of horror movies lately; Smile, The Boogeyman, and M3GAN are what I can think of off the top of my head, but it’s definitely a theme many are exploring recently. Run Rabbit Run definitely doesn’t fall into the popcorn category that the aforementioned movies do, but it does follow some jump scare tropes that don’t pay off because of the slow-burn direction the movie actually takes. There’s an eerie atmosphere throughout, which could be chilling if you were seated in a quiet theater, but for something to put on at home, I think it falls short of packing a punch. The movie revolves around a woman named Sarah, who is dealing with her father’s death while trying to take care of her young daughter, Mia, alone. After a bunny lands in their front yard and Mia takes her in as her own, things start to get dark for the mother-daughter duo. I had high hopes for this Australian thriller, but halfway through my viewing, I began to get distracted by the outside world around me.
To say Run Rabbit Run is boring would not be fair; it did have an interesting story, and I was keen on knowing why certain things were happening. But as the story progresses and the reasoning is revealed, it is hardly impactful at all. There’s something almost matter-of-fact about it. Sarah Snook and Lily LaTorre do a fantastic job of portraying their characters, and there are a couple of scenes that are really terrifying. Director Daina Reid creates an atmosphere of dread but pushes the boundaries too late. The extra characters, like Pete, the father, and Joan, Sarah’s mother, are decent for the little they have to do in the film. I was really hoping for a bang at the end because of how good the first half of the film is. The cinematography is also wonderful, and the Australian landscape in the background greatly adds to the ominous setting of the whole thing. The best part is the soundtrack, for sure, which builds into chaos every time something terrible is going to happen. In terms of scares, I could say that if you manage to pay attention, some scenes may be scary, but I think even for a non-horror fan, this movie may fall really low on the horror scale. Even with a creepy atmosphere, if not much is happening, people are bound to switch over to something else or skip to the end because you’re sitting in the comfort of your house, and really, there won’t be much you’ll be missing.
I understand that a lot of people like the moody, slow-burn, not much is happening kind of films, and I do too. Hereditary has got to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, and in the first 40 minutes or so, nothing really happens, but then things go really crazy, and it keeps you hooked. It’s clear that Run Rabbit Run is trying to do something similar, but the plot twist is not impressive enough to make it work. I also have qualms with the ending of this film, which plays out rather ambiguously, so it makes the wait all the more uninspiring. I do appreciate the way it tackles the generational relationships between Sarah and Joan (her mother) and Sarah and Mia (her daughter). This could be something that could’ve been explored further because it feels like the seed has been planted, but nobody bothered watering it.
I understand the film is also trying to talk about the horrors of motherhood, the chaos of being a single working mother, dealing with loss, and explaining it to a young child, and in hindsight, all of these things are done pretty well. I could say that it might be the pacing that really steers the film away from what’s good by the end. Additionally, with the rabbit in the film, I feel like there was no need for an actual physical rabbit. The fact that Mia’s nickname is Bunny and she makes a rabbit mask for herself made it all pretty clear. The movie also tries very hard to lean in on the psychological and leaves many things unanswered by the end, which doesn’t do any good in this case. I can’t point my finger at one specific thing that knocks the film down, but something about it didn’t work for me. Maybe because it lacks originality and is overall quite predictable, I didn’t find it very entertaining. Sarah’s downfall is inevitable, and I can imagine this film being polarizing.
Again, there’s a long and growing list of films in this exact genre, and I think amidst the terror, Run Rabbit Run is forgettable. With better pacing and more answers, this film could’ve been one of the best of its kind. There’s a little bit of profanity, a lot of violence, and some blood and gore that you must watch out for. Ultimately, it’s a film that tries to be too much at once, and that’s what makes it completely hollow. While the performances alone are extremely impressive, they cannot save it from mediocrity. I was really hoping to love this one, but alas, here we are. I’d give Run Rabbit Run 2 and a half stars for the sinister atmosphere, music, and performances. Skip this one if you bore easily, for sure, but if you want to see some atmospheric thrills with fancy music in the background and a psychological mother-daughter thriller, go for it.