Run is the latest Hulu original film, and it might just be their best. For me, it slightly edges past this year’s Palm Springs. I loved this psychological thriller. While it told a familiar story, it managed to provide great thrills through great tension. I knew I would enjoy this film based on my enjoyment of writer/director Aneesh Chaganty’s first film Searching, but this exceeded any expectations I had for it.
The film takes place mostly in one house and focuses almost exclusively on just two characters, Diane (Sarah Paulson) and her 17-year-old daughter Chloe (newcomer Kiera Allen). Diane has raised her daughter, who uses a wheelchair, in isolation, keeping her sequestered from the outside world. But when Chloe uncovers her mother’s sinister secrets, everything she knows begins to unravel.
As I previously stated, I’m a big fan of writer and director Aneesh Chaganty’s first film Searching. It made my top 10 of the year back in 2018 but Run might be even better. The best way to describe his latest is that this is a mix of Stephen King’s Misery and the Gypsy Rose mini-series The Act.
Chaganty directs the hell out of this film. He knew how to correctly build tension and suspense in a significant way and running a smooth 90 minutes, he makes excellent use of every minute. I was on edge for most of the film, very hyper, and fully invested in the movie thanks to how he provided great thrills to such a familiar story.
His screenplay does a great job at making such a simple story thrilling and developing both characters very well. The fact that what happens in this film happens a lot in real life makes it even more chilling. I feel the realistic tone of the story is what kept me engaged and anxious. I found myself screaming at the screen a few times. Chaganty is officially a director I’ll keep my eye on to see what he does next. I put him right there with Jordan Peele, Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), and Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) as fresh new voices in the horror/thriller genre, which all have two movies in their career and have all been good.
The score by Torin Borrowdale was excellent. It did a great job at giving the film this edge of your seat vibe. His score is as just as crucial to the thrilling aspect of the movie as Chaganty’s direction was. They blended to make this an unforgettable ride for me.
I respect director Aneesh Chaganty for hiring a real actress who uses a wheelchair to play his lead. It’s similar to how John Krasinski insisted on getting a real deaf actress to play his daughter in A Quiet Place. Chaganty couldn’t have done a better job with his decision because Kiera Allen stole the show. She gives an incredible debut performance – one of my favorite performances of the whole year. The fact that she is a wheelchair user in real life amazed me. This role asked a lot of her on a physical level, and the physicality she displayed was impressive. She was a very fierce and determined character, and I loved that so much because many directors would have made this character the opposite. Kiera herself using a wheelchair in real life brought a tremendous sense of authenticity to the role.
To the surprise of no one, Sarah Paulson was excellent as usual. This character might be her best performance on film since most of her outstanding work tends to be on TV. She does a great job at really making you hate her character; she played it to perfection. She did exactly what the script asked of her and was a perfect villain to Kiera’s easy to root for the lead.
Not everything about the film is perfect, and my only issue with the film was its familiarity. There were certain aspects of the film that were very easy to spot for me. Without spoiling the film, there are clues to certain things hidden in plain sight that I saw coming later on. Maybe it’s because the cinephile in me watches so many films that few things surprise me. The film’s minor plot holes don’t take away from what was an incredible experience for me.
Run is one of the best films of the year, and for anybody with Hulu, I suggest you check this film out as soon as you can because you won’t be disappointed.