Sundance 2023: ‘Run Rabbit Run’: Another Creepy Kid Movie


(Courtesy of The Sundance Institute)

By Zach Anderson, Arts Writer


“Run Rabbit Run,” directed by Daina Reid, follows fertility doctor Sarah (Sarah Snook) and her troubled daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre). After losing her father, Sarah observes her daughter’s increasingly obsessive behavior around people named Joan and Alice. Clearly people Sarah wants to forget about, Mia becomes convinced she’s the reincarnation of Alice and torments her mother with her past traumas.

This Australian psychological horror does great at keeping the audience and Sarah guessing what’s real and what isn’t, with a stellar performance from Snook and probably the best child acting I’ve ever seen from LaTorre.

I was glued to my seat, but performances can only go so far. The last half of the movie repeats the same scene over and over, trying to sell it as a new one each time, much like the genre it wants to be a part of.

Spiral Down the Rabbit Hole

The intrigue and mystery that drives the film’s horror is fairly standard for what you’d expect from a less supernatural, even more indie version of “The Babadook.” However, what truly sells it is the festival-best performance from Snook. She earns every ounce of rapport needed to keep the audience sympathizing with her morally questionable actions, even when they involve hurting her child. She maintains a murderous edge, like a mom about to snap in the grocery store but who doesn’t want to yell with people around.

Seriously, who wouldn’t go insane with a kid like Mia? LaTorre is far and away the best creepy kid I’ve seen used in this subgenre. She does something not many child actors seem to accomplish: acting like a child. LaTorre touches everything she does with such oblivious innocence and conviction, it’s hard not to believe her when she says she’s been reincarnated. Coupled with Snook’s eagerness to be a good mom, the duo’s chemistry brings scenes that would’ve fallen flat to a tense explosion of uncomfortable emotions.

Around and Around It Goes

Nevertheless, no matter how good the two leads were, they unfortunately can’t outshine the glaring repetitiveness of every single scene. At first, this formula doesn’t seem important. It provides a structure for dead moments with enough versatility that you can’t call a scene boring. However, after first blood is drawn at the midway point, scenes repeat themselves over and over and over. The kid does a spooky thing, the mom gets scared and tells her to stop, the kid says something hurtful like “You’re not my mummy!” and then the mom hurts the kid accidentally.

It also falls into many of the “creepy kid” movie tropes we’ve become all too familiar with: crude, spooky crayon drawings, scary masks, the kid hiding in the shadows — you get the gist. From time to time, I get goosebumps from a well-executed creepy kid, but by and large, this has turned into a lazy trope that just needs to die.

“Run Rabbit Run” conflicts me. I want to recommend it because of the amazing performances and decent camera direction in the first half of the film. However, I also want people to not encourage filmmakers to fall further into uninteresting scene structure and tropes. Guess you’ll decide for yourself. I’m not your mummy, after all.


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