Like the rest of my corner of the internet, I’ve spent the past several weeks mourning the void Succession Sundays left in my life. Nothing has adequately scratched the itch that my favourite tortured billionaire nepo babies left in their wake, so when I heard that Shiv Roy herself, Sarah Snook, would be headlining Run Rabbit Run, a new psychological drama for Netflix, my excitement at seeing the actress restored to my screen outweighed my usual ambivalence to the genre, and I tuned in.
The film returns Snook to her native Australia as a divorced doctor, Sarah, who starts to notice her young daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) acting strangely, claiming to be Alice, Sarah’s sister who died when they were young. The narrative plays out pretty much as you’d expect it to, with Sarah slipping further and further into her own paranoia. Mia adopts a creepy rabbit that appears to spark the “bunny” motif Sarah starts seeing everywhere; secrets from Sarah’s own past and her traumatic family background start to unravel, taking her sanity with them.
The good news is that Snook is the best part of Run Rabbit Run. She’s more than proved her acting chops on Succession, and if anyone needed evidence that her talent wasn’t a flash in the pan, they need look no further. The bulk of the psychodrama unfolds within Sarah’s head, and Snook is volatile, and vulnerable as she shows Sarah’s mounting fear and anguish. Her chemistry with LaTorre is great too, and crucially, the mother-daughter relationship is instantly sold through, providing a compelling foundation on which the ensuing horror can play out.
The bad news is that Snook is the best part of Run Rabbit Run… and nothing else about it quite measures up. For one thing, all of the elements that give this movie its horror stamp feel dully derivative, done many times before without having anything new to say. Creepy kid’s drawings and sinister relatives and secret siblings are all the bread and butter of this type of genre; while there’s nothing wrong with relying on these tropes, the movie doesn’t handle them deftly enough to feel fresh and inventive, and it doesn’t play with them cleverly enough to feel subversive.
The score and the visuals are pretty decent — there are some moody, atmospheric shots of the grey Australian countryside that are genuinely evocative, while also being breathtaking to look at. But overall, there’s an insubstantial quality to the whole film that leaves it feeling oftentimes generic. I never fully cared that these characters were experiencing these events at this time, because it was a script that could have been for one of any of the dozens of other stories inseparable from this one.
It’s not that Run Rabbit Run is bad, per se. If you’re a fan of the likes of Hereditary there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this too. It’s just that, there’s also no reason you shouldn’t just go back and rewatch Hereditary instead, unless, like me, you’re really committed to getting your Snook fix.
For more of Meha’s work, read her review of What’s Love Got to Do With It?