Few things go together better than horror movies and haunted kids. Netflix’s new movie Run Rabbit Run is a perfect example.
Carefully treading the line between horror and psychological thriller, Run Rabbit Run stars Succession’s Sarah Snook as a fertility doctor named Sarah. Sarah’s still carrying quite a bit of grief over the passing of her mother when her daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) starts acting extremely strange. More specifically, Mia refers to herself as “Alice,” and claims that she wants to “see her mom.” As it turns out, Alice is the name of Sarah’s sister, who disappeared at about Mia’s age, and Sarah never told Mia about. Things only get weirder and creepier from there.
As the movie goes on, Mia disappears into her persona of Alice, knowing things that only Alice would. As life unravels, Sarah is forced to look deeper into her own past and confront her repressed memories and grief over Alice’s disappearance. This is where Run Rabbit Run really shines, especially compared to some of the other recent horror movies that delve into trauma.
While trauma metaphors have dominated the horror movie genre since The Babadook’s release in 2014, the effectiveness of writers and directors drawing that connection has been hit or miss. Movies like It Follows, Midsommar, or M3GAN manage to nail their themes without getting too lost in their analogies. Others, like Smile, The Boogeyman, and Candyman, take too heavy a hand in their trauma plots, often losing sight of the scares or even their own story in service of their allegories and themes.
Run Rabbit Run avoids the messiness of metaphor entirely by making the trauma the actual text: Mia morphs from the source of Sarah’s worry as a parent into the source of her grief as a sister. By diving headlong into the protagonist’s trauma instead of talking around it, director Daina Reid (Apple TV’s Shining Girls) is able to play around with more surreal images and warping realities, twisting Sarah’s world and distorting it through the lens of her pain, grief, and maybe even some repressed memories. It’s a powerful and often disturbing combination that gives the movie a creepy atmosphere and some of its most effective and terrifying moments.
The movie’s directness can’t quite mitigate all the problems that plague the recent wave of trauma-tinged horror films Most specifically, the ending feels a little too tidy compared to the movie that preceded it, especially as it loses some of the surreal images that make the rest of the final act so harrowing in favor of a too-clean scene that easily fades from memory. But even without completely sticking the landing, Run Rabbit Run is still among the most interesting Netflix releases of the year so far, and easily one of its better horror options.
Run Rabbit Run is now streaming on Netflix.