Synopsis: A woman grows increasingly unsettled by her young daughter’s claims to have memories of another life, stirring up their family’s painful past.
Stars: Sarah Snook, Lily LaTorre, Damon Herriman, Greta Scacchi
Director: Daina Reid
Running Length: 100 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: Striking while the iron is hot is critical to longevity in the entertainment industry, so I can understand why Run Rabbit Run is coming out at this strange point in the summer. Lead star Sarah Snook has completed her run on HBO’s much-lauded series Succession, and her unpredictable performance over the seasons is widely regarded as key to why it became such a crave-able hit. I’ve yet to finish the series, but even from what I’ve seen and based on the previous performances Snook has given, I’m not shocked that her star is on the rise. I’m just amazed it took this long.
I worry that a film set up to boost her profile, like this slinky Run Rabbit Run, which has premiered on Netflix, is bound to get lost when pushed out during many summertime options. Coming out just as audiences are about to careen down the most prominent hill in the blockbuster rollercoaster ride known as July, how much room is there for a quiet ghost story mystery that takes its time to unravel its secrets? Is there room for something so small when viewers are offered IMAX-sized thrills down the block?
Divorced mom Sarah (Snook, The Dressmaker) is a fertility doctor and always keeps daughter Mia’s (Lily LaTorre) well-being at the forefront of her mind. Still dealing with the loss of her beloved father and being unable to unpack his boxes from her garage, she puts all her energy into work and her child. There’s a sense of running away from a past she’d like to forget, and how she reacts to specific names confirms pent-up tension that overflows quickly. With her ex-husband starting a new life with his girlfriend and suggesting he may want to bring Mia with them, the pressure rises again for Sarah, who thought their life had reached a tranquil place.
Around this time, Mia starts to exhibit strange behavior that ties back to Sarah’s family history, memories that begin to haunt them both and get very real the longer they are ignored. As Mia brings up people, places, and things she couldn’t know about, Sarah must confront a shadow following her since childhood and reexamine her actions from that time. When mother and daughter travel to Sarah’s childhood home in the remote Australian country, a dark energy that has been waiting for them is unleashed with deadly consequences.
Originally a vehicle for Elisabeth Moss, who worked with director Daina Reid on the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale, I’m thrilled that Snook wound up in the role. She’s capable of playing an exhausted do-it-all woman who had built a wall around a personal secret only to have that protection infiltrated when she least expected it. LaTorre is appropriately creepy as the little girl possibly in contact with the beyond, and while we’re talking about longevity, it’s great to see Greta Scacchi (Operation Finale) turn up as Snook’s dementia-plagued mother who isn’t as frail as she appears. The original script from author Hannah Kent is a change of pace for the historian, but it takes its time working toward a finale that is obvious from the start but arrived at with a great deal of earned spooky mood. And that’s all one should have at the top of their list for a commercial thriller like Run Rabbit Run. Does it earn all its dark shivers? Yes, completely.