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Written By:

Joel Harley

They fuck you up, your mum and dad, Philip Larkin once wrote. Sarah Paulson takes the old poem to its extreme in this mom vs daughter psycho-thriller. What if Annie Wilkes was an overly attached mom, director Aneesh Chaganty asks – a modern update on the old Misery formula.

This isn’t the only Stephen King thriller Run is beholden to either. There are shades of IT‘s Eddie Kaspbrak to the story of a sick teenager and her controlling, hypochondriac mother in small town America. Where most homeschooler parents are content to stick with staunch anti-vax beliefs and denying that dinosaurs ever existed, Diane (Paulson) takes gaslighting to the next level. Systematically drugging daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen), the teen is left in a wheelchair and with a multitude of serious illnesses. But when she stumbles upon a mystery prescription amongst the groceries, Chloe comes to realise that mother might not know best after all.

The American Horror Story star delivers good psycho as the increasingly unhinged Diane, and makes for a chilling – if slightly ludicrous – villain. Paulson is no stranger to hysterical, demented characters, and Run plays to her strengths. The film is at its best when the horror is understated; when Diane inevitably goes full monster – terrorising Chloe and their amiable mailman (Pat Healy) – it loses its way a little. But Allen is excellent as young Chloe, keeping the movie grounded even as Paulson threatens to turn the whole thing into a Ryan Murphy TV episode.

Part Lifetime movie, part over-familiar Stephen King riff, Run is a silly but effective little thriller, its predictable twists enlivened by the powerhouse performances of its stars.

Joel Harley

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