Run! movie poster

Run!

In theaters May 14, 2024

Rated

,

85 minutes

Directed by: ,

Starring: , ,

Run! (2024) won’t be going on anyone’s best of 2024 lists, but maybe not for the usual reasons. For as earnest as writer-directors Bill Brennenstuhl and Paul Stenerson wanted this desert town survivalist puzzle to fit together, too many pieces have the edges cheated to fit.

A couple (Jeremy Miller and Alena von Stroheim) are renewing their vows in a casual ceremony in a desert town. Anna would like to have her estranged sister be her maid of honor this time around, but she’s a no-show for the ceremony. On the way back to their hotel, Anna and Runner (give the character a real name, folks) are gassed and separated. Runner is dropped off in the desert and Anna is secreted away with only clues left behind. Runner has to survive a sniper, a man in a mask, a crazy preacher, a drone with the worst camera lens on the market, and the heat of the sun to save his wife and cement their happily ever after.

The story for Run! was better plotted than one would imagine, and there are quite a few clever surprises I didn’t see coming. Told in four converging chapters, we see the twisted challenge Far West Chapel has for visiting sinners. Unfortunately, the overall tale is overshadowed by an incomprehensible backstory and lackluster reveal, a cliched “insane” and masked heavy, and a soundscape I absolutely could not understand. There is a masked henchman and he feels photocopied from pictures printed from a microfiche projector. The heavy rotates masks Twisty left behind from season 4 of American Horror Story, “Freak Show” (2011-present) and a plague doctor mask, while carrying out all of the maiming and torture.  Then there’s Father Emery (Kevin Muster), the strange lynchpin in this wild, dystopian nightmare, who carries all of the folksy, hammy dialogue. For all of the forced menace, the plague doctor couldn’t be understood behind the full-face mask. Without subtitles, which I’ve been asking for on indie releases for a few years now, nothing he said rose to more than a growling grumble. Who needs an explanation of the point, right?

Movies rely on dialogue, especially with a story that is action-heavy. If the dialogue can’t be understood, or worse is delivered with immeasurable levels of apathy, none of the action makes sense. When there was dialogue, it went on forever with terrible accents, killing whatever small momentum it had mustered. On the flip side, the fights were very well-choreographed, and after a rhythm, you could even overlook some of the more obvious continuity errors. I wanted sense with my action, but instead, the set pieces and (quite unfortunately) characters had a very generic vibe. There was a drone taking pictures and video, but from its POV, they looked like placeholders, as if maybe something should have been added in post-production. It was giving Silver Orb vibes (the “Sentinel Sphere”, from Phantasm (1979) except before in the late 70s no one had ever seen a sentient murder ball), while drones are ubiquitous in the 21st Century.

No doubt Run! will have its following, likely those who dig watching women murdered and mutilated, and filthy rooms with bloody walls, trash, and multiple opportunities for tetanus. It’s the kind of movie you pop in while you’re waiting for the pizza to get delivered but only really watch when there’s screaming. It’s solely for background, and it could have been better.

Run! (2024) is unrated, but call it PG-13 for people getting shot, people getting stabbed, people getting carved, rotting corpses in the desert, severed tongues, boxes full of blood, people getting punched in the face, and slashed throats.

 

*Edit: this review has been edited to reflect mistakes I’d made pointed out to me by cast and crew in the comments, so thank you, Kevin and Dalen. I welcome corrections and even spirited conversations. We’re all here because we love movies. Let’s talk about them!

Run! is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

Comments

  1. Thanks for taking the time to review the movie! 1.5 stars is better than .5. Btw there is only one character that wears the masks not 2.

    1. Author

      *EDIT: You’re right, that’s the Driver in both scenes. I stand humbly corrected.*

      It’s 2 – The Driver wears a black one and white one (one in the desert with the Shooter, and one in his torture penthouse), as well as a number of half masks and N95s, and The Preacher during the taunting video call.

      Thanks for commenting!

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