Run Rabbit Run lacks thrills, but offers star Sarah Snook an excellent showcase in this psychological thriller.
REASON: A divorced mother (Sarah Snook), reeling from the recent death of her father, begins to have disturbing interactions with her daughter, Mia (Lily LaTorre), who has begun throwing inexplicable tantrums.
REVIEW: Run the Rabbit Run is a low-key psychological thriller that offers star Sarah Snook an excellent showcase. Already famous for his role on Succession (and a cult icon for the underrated Predestination), Snook is skillfully cast as Sarah, a fertility doctor in the midst of a harrowing ordeal. When we first meet her character, Sarah, she seems to have a decent life, despite her ongoing disappointment over the breakup of her marriage to her decent ex (Damon Herriman). She is bourgeois with her ex’s new family and has an idyllic relationship with her daughter, Mia, whom she affectionately calls Bunny. But at the same time as the arrival of a rabbit that wanders into their home, Mia has strange tantrums. At first her behavior is just annoying, she wears a pink bunny mask all the time, but it gets more unnerving. She starts referring to herself as Alice, which happens to be the name of Sarah’s sister who disappeared when she was seven, the age Mia is now.
While there is a Midnight selection here at Sundance, Run the Rabbit Run is not a horror film. It’s a deep dive into generational trauma that offers Snook a complicated and not entirely innocent role to play. We never really know if Mia is actually behaving as Sarah perceives, or if it’s all in her head and the result of something deeper. It’s almost a two-hander for Snook and young Lily LaTorre, who spend large chunks of the film alone. We see Sarah develop from a lovely mother to someone who is perhaps unhinged, with her decaying mental state not visible to anyone except maybe Mia.
LaTorre, while young, is good as Mia/Alice, with director Daina Reid and Hannah Kent leaving her ultimate behavior ambiguous. She could be a possessed hell, but she could also be an abused child in the hands of her mother, and what she is or isn’t is up to us to decide. While Snook and LaTorre dominate, Greta Sacchi also has a good role as Sarah’s estranged mother who is riddled with dementia and blames her daughter for Alice’s disappearance. Damon Herriman has a small role as Sarah’s sweet ex-husband, although he seems a bit naive about what’s going on with his daughter and ex-wife until very late in the story.
Reid also uses the isolation of outback Australia to excellent effect, with the final act taking place mostly in a remote outback home. It’s slickly made, with Reid a veteran from The Handmaid’s Tale and The shining girls (star Elisabeth Moss was originally supposed to play the role of Snook). While a lack of traditional genre elements may turn off those expecting a horror film given the midnight time, Run the Rabbit Run, which has just been picked up by Netflixshould play well on streaming and is further proof of how gifted an actress Snook can be.