As students are home for the holidays, many may be dreading the reality of going back to living with their parents and the — let’s say complicated — things that come with it. Whether it’s nagging about applying to internships, constant questions about your love life, or the monitoring of your every move, there are bound to be some cons associated with returning home. Whatever they may be, it’s safe to say they don’t compare to the psychotic behavior of Sarah Paulson’s single mother character in the new thriller, “Run,” which debuted on Hulu on Friday, Nov. 20.
The film centers around Paulson’s Diane Sherman and her daughter Chloe, played by newcomer Kiera Allen. Chloe, who suffers from a number of disabilities and uses a wheelchair, lives a very sheltered life due to her overprotective mother. As Chloe longs for a chance to experience independence, she begins to suspect that her mother may be hiding some dark secrets. What results is a tightly paced thriller with numerous twists and turns that keep the audience on its toes throughout the hour-and-a-half runtime.
Once past the possibly intentional irony of a film centered around a paraplegic main character being named “Run,” the film turns out to be a solidly entertaining addition to the genre. Paulson is more than convincing as a helicopter mom with more than a few screws loose, so much so that she makes what could have been a predictable plot much more engaging. The role is hardly a stretch for Paulson, who has busted out her inner psycho multiple times during her nine seasons on “American Horror Story.” That being said, her performance is actually quite nuanced, an impressive feat for a genre that’s not often known for its subtlety.
Allen is also excellent in her role, striking a perfect balance between strength and helplessness. The film marks a win for disability representation, as Allen actually uses a wheelchair in real life in addition to on screen. This was an intentional decision by the filmmakers, who recognized how rare it is that disabled characters are played by disabled actors.
The script is also smartly written, with Allen’s character avoiding the horror cliches and proving to be both smart and resourceful. Overall the film keeps a very quick pace, with little room for exposition or unnecessary dialogue. This works wonders in building tension throughout the film. While the first half feels familiar, with some shots and scenes seemingly inspired by the Stephen King classic “Misery,” the second half breaks out some welcoming surprises that ensure viewers won’t get too comfortable.
Originally, the film was supposed to debut in theaters back in May, but as a result of the close of movie theaters due to the coronavirus pandemic, it joined a long list of films that were delayed. In August, it was announced that Hulu had acquired the streaming rights to the film, making “Run” one of the latest movies to skip a theatrical release. While that may have been a disappointing result for the filmmakers, it’s an undeniably positive result for those looking to watch an exciting new movie with whomever they may be with this holiday season, right in the comfort of their home. And if it’s with parents, maybe they will finally get the message to loosen their reins a little bit.