In one of the scenes in Daina Reid’s Run Rabbit Run, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Mia (Lily Latorre) says to her mother, Sarah (Sarah Snook), that she misses people she never met all the time. Although a little girl refers to her grandmother, the sentence stays with you. The film eventually grapples with guilt and how it may impact our and our children’s lives, with elements of horror and the unfolding family drama. Run Rabbit Run, another production that showcases Snook’s versatile craft, is filled with an enigmatic music setting. This psychological horror, with a chilling atmosphere similar to Babadook or Hereditary, “will make you question your sanity until the predictable yet impressive ending.
It’s Mia’s seventh birthday when the audience meets this adorable, freckled, and curious girl. The party preparation ensues as Sarah’s daughter waits for her dad to come. The adults’ strained relationship is evident from the start — Mia’s father, his new partner, her son, and Sarah appear to be getting on well together for the sake of the children involved. Nonetheless, there are subtle undercurrents that suggest otherwise. Soon, Sarah’s pristinely controlled world takes a turn for the worse. A mysterious birthday gift suddenly appears on the doorstep of their home — a white bunny. The gift thoroughly delights Mia but greatly upsets Sarah.
As Mia begins to act increasingly out of character, Sarah is suddenly reminded of her disturbing and perplexing past. It all takes a turn for the worse when Mia claims to be someone she has never met before and insists on wearing her hand-made rabbit mask. “Bunny” is even Mia’s pet name. Everything revolves around the animal that continues to haunt the fertility specialist who worries about her daughter. As the premise progresses, Mia demands to see Sarah’s hospitalized mother, the grandmother she has never met before.
The presence of a white furry animal, as in the plot of Run Rabbit Run, is utilized in film and television. It was a sign for Neo to follow and a classy animal for Alice to chase. However, in Reid’s horror, the white rabbit is weaponized against Sarah. The animal emerges in the background as a plushie, a hallucination that Sarah keeps seeing, or as one that Mia received for her birthday. White rabbits are usually associated with good luck and fortune, but for Sarah, the animal illustrates the past, pain, and, as it turns out later guilt. The rabbit’s presence and her daughter’s strange behavior force Sarah to face her difficult childhood and renew her acquaintance with her mother, whom the woman hates for reasons unknown.
Run Rabbit Run, which may resemble Céline Sciamma’s “Petite Maman” in its innocence at first, grows more relative to the horrors mentioned above. The film paces slowly, taking its time to examine Sarah’s emotions in each scene and interaction. Because of this, the psychological horror may not be suitable for everyone. However, if you enjoy films with many layers that delve into family dynamics, Run Rabbit Run is the film to see. The focus is initially on Latorre’s Mia, who insists she is no longer Mia, throws tantrums, and even resorts to violence. However, it gradually pivots to her mother. Why is the woman trying to forget her childhood so desperately? What is she hiding? Why doesn’t she share her feelings with Mia? These questions run through one’s mind as Mia and her mother spiral into madness.
Sarah Snook is fantastic, always giving complex, memorable performances, as she proves so in Succession. In Run Rabbit Run, she plays another multifaceted character, prompting reflection on the matter of guilt, secrets, and the value of being open to those who love you. At the same time, her character demonstrates the psychological effects of years of resentment, pain, and disappointment. Run Rabbit Run ultimately ponders accountability for one’s actions and depicts how the past returns to haunt those who have something to hide. As slow-paced as it is, the premise continues to play with one’s head and will be a treat to those previously intrigued by Babadook.