Film Column – Run Rabbit Run

RUN Rabbit Run is an Australian psychological horror with a cast led by Succession star Sarah Snook as a fertility doctor who must confront a wrathful ghost from her past.

And you would be spot on if that brief synopsis has alarm bells ringing and left you with the notion that this spooky mystery, directed by Daina Reid, sounds rather derivative.

It certainly is.

If anything, it comes off like a somewhat pale imitation of The Babadook.

New to Netflix, Run Rabbit Run sees Snook play the part of Sarah, a doctor who becomes increasingly concerned as her daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) starts to display perplexing behaviour on her seventh birthday.

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As Mia’s birthday celebrations get underway, proceedings take a Shakespearean turn for the worse as an ill wind of bad tidings and ominous black clouds settle over the inhospitable Australian outback.

A white rabbit also appears disconcertingly in the dark hallway of their home like a ghostly birthday gift from the Great Beyond. Sarah’s mask soon begins to slip and she seems less in control of her world as Mia starts to have mystifying memories of a past identity and talks of missing people she’s never met.

Soon afterwards Mia’s behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre and she demands to see Sarah’s long-estranged mother Joan (Greta Scacchi), the grandmother she’s never set eyes on. Joan is living with dementia and mistakes her granddaughter for Sarah’s sister Alice, who has been missing since she was seven-years-old.

Mia begins to throw wild temper tantrums and insists she is Alice, and considers her mother nothing more than a cruel monster.

Where this is all going is as obvious as the ineptitude of the RTÉ executive board, and the grand finale more disappointing than an empty chocolate box on date night.

It’s a real shame because the director teases us throughout with flashes of something truly chilling with droning cellos and artful slow-paced scenes that gaze meditatively into nightmares of loss and shame.

Reid is clearly a director with a true love of the horror genre. With a little restraint and a tad more cunning she could have finished up with a stew more appetising than it is bland. Still, there’s a lot to love here, and she is certainly one to look out for in the future.