Psychological thriller ‘Run’ defies typical genre gimmicks, keeps viewers guessing


Courtesy of Hulu

‘Run’ was released by Hulu on Nov. 20, starring long time horror actress Paulson and newcomer Allen. It currently holds an approval rating of 90%.

How do you escape a mother’s obsessive love if you can’t run?

“Run,” directed by Anise Chaganty and starring Kiera Allen and Sarah Paulson, is a Hulu original film that premiered on Nov. 20. It was touted as a psychological thriller guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat, and it did just that.

“Run” stars Allen as Chloe, a young disabled woman who is getting ready to leave her overprotective mother, Diane, and venture off to her dream college. Diane, played by Paulson, seems less eager to send Chloe off to college. It soon becomes clear that Diane will do anything to ensure that Chloe stays home with her mother forever.

The movie starts off as a slow-burn domestic thriller, dripping with manipulation and gaslighting. The pace increases exponentially towards the second half of the movie, with scenes that will make you hold your breath. The plot is predictable, but thanks to the writing, not stale. 

The characters constantly make surprising choices that seem to spice up a typical psychological thriller. Chloe is a capable and intelligent protagonist whose unconventional problem-solving methods drive the plot. Diane is a terrifying mother figure who will keep you guessing until the last second. There has never been a thriller quite like “Run.”

At the time that “Run” was released, conversations about disabled stories in media were at the forefront. Sia, a pop music artist, had announced her upcoming feature film “Music,” a film about a non-speaking autistic woman who is played by Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical woman. 

Sia has faced criticism for her casting choices and her defense of “Music,” which has opened the door to many conversations about the inclusion (or lack thereof) of disabled people in media. Simply, there are not enough movies authentically portraying disabled stories with disabled people. “Run” is a refreshing change.

Allen is the first disabled person to star in a thriller since “Sign of the Ram,” which was made 70 years ago. Chaganty was committed to hiring a disabled actor to play the lead alongside Paulson, a determination not often seen in the world of film. Allen was a captivating actress who brought authenticity to every scene. Her consultation on the script and set allowed for accuracy rarely seen in the discussion of disabled stories.

The film has surpassed the record for Hulu’s most-watched film on opening weekend and has been received well by the general public. The Hollywood Reporter called “Run” a “delicious Hitchcockian thriller about the perils of maternal codependency.” Stephen King, one of the biggest names in the horror genre, also gave “Run” his stamp of approval in the form of a tweet

While “Run” is not the perfect encapsulation of the disabled experience, (as most thrillers are not completely reflective of life), it is an opening into a world that doesn’t shy away from including disabled people in media. 

You can stream “Run” on Hulu.