Sundance: One other day, one other horror movie about grief and trauma.
The predictably terrifying Sarah Snook goes fully wild on this Australian horror movie.Rabbit run,” however its endpoint shouldn’t be sufficient to justify the journey.
When you’ve by no means seen it, you may get pleasure from this thriller. Directed by Daina Reid from a screenplay by Hannah Kent, Run Rabbit Run rips from the playbook of comparable latest horror titles about moms wracked by grief and trauma as they witness the supernatural occasions that confront their strained relationships with their very own moms. and kids (for 2 of the clearest and most up to date reference factors, see The Relic and The Babadook, which the producers of this movie additionally directed). However the screenplay has so many dizzying leaps in logic and by no means fairly establishes the world it needs to construct – are the occasions on display supernatural or simply Grand Guignol-crazy hallucinations? Each prospects turn into disappointing.
Sarah Snook, Shiv Roy’s “Heiress” for the linen Banana Republic Outback stylish trades in outdated cash aesthetics, as a fertility physician named Sarah unbuttons right here like by no means earlier than. She lives within the outback of South Australia along with her youngest daughter, Mia (Lili Latorre), who has simply turned seven. However her birthday coincided with the latest dying of Sarah’s personal father, a tragedy she had by no means actually confronted. Sara can also be divorced and estranged from her mom, Joan (Greta Scacchi), lately recognized with dementia and residing in a nursing house.
As with such movies, ominous animal symbols abound, taking the type of a white rabbit showing on Sarah’s doorstep on Mia’s birthday. The boy instantly falls in love with the furry, menacing creature and virtually instantly begins to indicate obscure indicators of pleasure, asking Sara questions on Joan, who has nothing to do with it. Mia additionally begins calling herself “Alice”, which is not herself, and eagle-eyed viewers will shortly determine who Alice is.
One other creature has an insidious allegorical energy, as in a single scene the place Sarah runs over a big chicken, barely seeing it till Mia notices the accident, after which cannot discover the chicken below the automobile. These photographs are much less clichéd (and later extra instructive) than what inevitably turns into the dominant visible motif of Sarah and Mia’s breakups, specifically, you guessed it, Mia’s creepy scratchy drawings of stick figures with eyes and legs reduce off in school. . Sarah dazzles them late into the night time, frets over a big glass of wine and calls her ex and new spouse, accusing them of poisoning Mia’s thoughts by spilling secrets and techniques about Sarah’s previous.
These mysteries coalesce within the second half of the movie within the shaky schematic silhouette of an image, the place Sara inexplicably drags Mia to her childhood house in rural Waikerie. That it is sensible as a way of quelling the looming, unquenchable dread, effectively, that is simply one of many film’s many lazy screenplays that go unexplained. Joan, who now additionally calls Mia “Alice” after a household go to to a nursing house, left Sara’s childhood house in an uncommon manner. So what higher manner than to relive previous traumas to hopefully extinguish new ones?
Mia, in an unnaturally transferring efficiency by the younger Latorre, grew ruthlessly willful in direction of her mom, throwing barbs at Sara, calling her a “horrible particular person” and throwing outbursts that will take a look at the mood of even essentially the most affected person mom. Reminiscences of The Babadook come to mind right here, as in fellow Aussie Jennifer Kent’s movie, we felt an excessive amount of sympathy for her rising ambivalence in direction of motherhood as her youngster is annoyingly annoying.
Sarah Enticknap / Courtesy Sundance institute
Snook and Latorre are working on an analogous aircraft right here, as Sara actually begins to spin and we surprise if what she’s seeing is actual or imaginary or some sort of supernatural trickery. Nightmares that end in “pick-up” moments embrace a number of soar scares that includes a glowing woman with lengthy black hair in a tattered nightgown, neglected within the background, or flashing blood-stained arms or over-the-top sound design. . However they merely have little content material.
The again half of the movie has some haunting visuals that counsel a very totally different film and a horror fan would like to go. An unlucky warehouse in Waikerie has a locked cupboard you do not wish to go close to. Contained in the shed suspended from the ceiling cling rusted devices harking back to torture units. There’s one other second with Sarah and Mia and a pair of scissors the place you’ll be able to virtually hear the shockwave and possibly the waterfall of froth within the viewers: this the film we will get? Sadly no.
Finally, Run Rabbit Run is a pile of banal horror tropes. Even whereas working with a drone digital camera, director of images Bonnie Elliott conjures up splendidly foreboding photographs of the Australian panorama, however there’s one thing sleepy about all of it. The saving grace that makes “Rabbit” probably price seeing is the sleazy Sarah Snook, who veers into “Babadook” and “Black Swan” and even “Repulsion” territory within the movie’s finale. However the truth that these are reference factors in any respect exhibits the unusualness of the movie and the lacking authentic components. That is the sort of thriller that you’ll undergo previously Netflixpossibly even drift and now, very quickly, you’ll be able to.
Run Rabbit Run premiered on the 2023 Sundance Movie Competition. It was picked up by Netflix for later launch exterior of the pageant.