**There’s really no proper to review Run without some spoilers, so consider yourself warned.**
Cinematic logic dictates that no matter carefully the villain in a thriller strives to cover up their crimes, they will save a newspaper article in a fairly convenient location that exposes their vicious deeds. Same goes for opened mail that was meant for someone else. These time tested cliches are in Aneesh Chaganty’s Hulu pic Run, the director’s follow-up to his well regarded Searching from 2018. And there are additional moments in the efficient 89 minutes of screen time that are straight out of its Genre 101.
That said, Run has some things going for it. We open with Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson) giving birth prematurely to her daughter whose survival in question. Flash forward 17 years later and Chloe (Kiera Allen, making her film debut) is alive, but in a wheelchair and experiencing various other illnesses. It’s time for the homeschooled teen to eagerly leave the nest for college which Mom appears cool with. Not so fast.
It takes little time for the screenplay to establish that a Munchausen by proxy situation could be happening. For those who haven’t consulted their medical journals lately, the question is whether Diane is purposely keeping her actually health child sick and confining her to their Washington farmhouse. The casting of Paulson, known for playing whackos, is a solid clue.
Run is elevated by its lead performances. We know what to expect from its known actress and Paulson plays this Mommie Dearest to the hilt. However, it’s Allen who shines. Chloe is certainly a character to be pitied, but she’s also much smarter and resourceful than your average daughter in distress.
As mentioned, the mechanisms of the storyline do cover familiar ground as Chloe tries to wheel or (maybe) walk far away from this matriarchal mayhem. Diane would have been wise to invest in a paper shredder as she tries to cut off Chloe’s access to the outside world. Yet Run earns points with a genuinely strong and sympathetic heroine and a final twist that confirms she is still a step ahead of her captor.
*** (out of four)