Sarah Paulson takes on the role of an unhinged, overbearing mother in a desperate bid to keep her darkest secret at bay whilst her wheelchair-bound daughter (Keira Allen) plays sleuth.
Aneesh Chaganty’s psychological thriller is unfortunately anything but, and within the first thirty minutes, you have the entire plot mapped out in front of you. Predictable, but thankfully concise enough that it is not drawn out. However, at times, it does feel as though you are watching a less nerve-wracking Misery (1990) and this sticks with you throughout.
The plot is highly inconsistent and even questionable; had Chloe (Allen) really only began to notice her mother’s erratic behaviour now? Sure, she was homeschooled for entire life and kept in isolation, but there wasn’t an ounce of curiosity within her? Especially given that her mother monitored her every movement. It can be excused by Chloe truly not knowing any better, but it still struck me as odd nonetheless.
Both Paulson and Allen (who makes her debut here) give strong performances, which is perhaps the sole reason you may want to keep watching. Allen absolutely does not disappoint. She portrays Chloe’s terror and anguish extremely well that you forget she is a total beginner to the industry.
Paulson, on the other hand, is exactly as you would expect. If there is one woman you want to tackle trauma in modern cinema, it is without a doubt, Sarah Paulson. It is no surprise that she is able to tap into her menacing side with such ease and Allen matches her talent effortlessly, which is a testament to the newcomer. The pair ultimately carry the film through despite the substandard plot, and are a natural fit to their respective parts.
The film itself is rather bland and lacks depth – particularly in regard to the mental health aspect. Many questions are left unanswered. We are either expected to fill in the blanks ourselves or just go with the flow; neither option is entirely satisfying. There also didn’t seem to be much room for character development, which is disappointing considering we have two spirited actresses leading the movie.
By the end, you are pretty much anticipating what you knew was coming and waiting for the inevitable credits to roll. Even the final ‘twist’ (I’m still unsure on whether that’s what it is supposed to be) isn’t enough to jar you the way you might’ve hoped. With no character development comes zero plot development, and you’re instead wondering; what did we achieve with this?
Overall, it is worth watching to see the potential in Keira Allen, as well as admiring how she matches Paulson’s veteran tempo. However, if it’s a gripping, mind-twisting thriller that you’re after, maybe this one isn’t for you.
Run is now available internationally on Netflix and Hulu in the US