The subject of motherhood has lengthy supplied the horror style with a few of its biggest tales. From “Rosemary’s Child” to “The Babadook,” there’s something inherently scary about watching the one you love youngster be overtaken by evil forces or reckoning with the concept that changing into a dad or mum makes us susceptible to simply about each horrible factor in our world (and past). In Daina Reid’s new movie “Run Rabbit Run,” fertility physician Sarah (Sarah Snook) meets these tensions head-on when her precocious seven-year-old daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre) begins to say she’s truly Alice, Sarah’s sister who disappeared when she was Mia’s age.
Reid’s ghost story makes use of innocuous objects to layer on the movie’s sense of unease. First, Mia reveals up with a white fluffy rabbit, and he or she rapidly turns into obsessive about it, to the purpose the place she begins carrying a self-made pink rabbit masks. The bunny, which she names Rabbit, ominously hops round the home, a harbinger of the unhealthy issues nonetheless to return. When Sarah tries to do away with Rabbit, it bites her, the primary of many accidents she’s going to incur as she spirals over reminiscences of her lacking sister, her estranged mom, and lately departed father. The movie’s battle is centered between mom Sarah and daughter Mia, however it additionally features a thorny relationship with Sarah’s mom, Joan (Greta Scacchi), making a cycle of guilt from childhood sins and feeling like she’s not doing sufficient for her child.
Rabbit is just not the one troubling factor in Hannah Kent’s script. In establishing Sarah’s narrative, Kent reveals the viewers how a lot Sarah’s been pushed to the brink even earlier than something unexplained begins. She’s divorced and co-parenting together with her ex-husband, Pete (Damon Herriman), who has moved on and within the means of beginning a brand new household of his personal. Sarah can also be coping with the dying of her dad, his issues nonetheless piled up in her storage but to be sorted by. After which there’s her mom, an ominous determine additionally dropping her reminiscences to dementia. When Mia’s issues escalate, she at first tries to be the robust dad or mum doing what’s proper for her youngster, however then, she begins to harm herself within the course of, and by extension, hurts Mia.
In a wonderful departure from her best-known function as Shiv Roy in “Succession,” Snook brings a motherly sense of care and obligation to her character. She’s attentive and affectionate in methods many people haven’t seen her. Her calm, collected demeanor rapidly erodes within the face of a lot uncertainty and stress. Snook’s consideration and take care of LaTorre’s Mia is deeply felt, and their bond is clear from the primary scene when mom wakes up her daughter with a birthday reward. LaTorre seems to be at Snook with giant expressive eyes that shift from confused and scared when she’s inexplicably bleeding to burning with rage when she screams that she’s truly Alice. However in moments of Mia’s readability, LaTorre runs to Snook and embraces her tightly for security, establishing the shut relationship between the pair early on; giving us a way of what is going to be misplaced as soon as Rabbit enters the body.
Sarah’s descent to insanity mirrors the haunting panorama of the movie’s setting in Waikerie, Australia. There ate windswept horizons, imposing cliffs, stormy clouds over luscious inexperienced hills, flutters of birds flying in droves by her previous house, and what seems to be like timber sprouting out of a purple river. The movie wallows in a weatherbeaten palette, with a number of pale yellows and dusty grays, within the daytime. At evening, darkness takes over, and even well-lit houses and comfy bedrooms begin to really feel unsafe. Cinematographer Bonnie Elliot fastidiously performs with these moods to create a visible sense of Sarah’s spiral. The movie’s aesthetic turns into more and more erratic as she loses her grip on actuality. When Sarah goes out and in of a dreamlike state, pictures might look hazy or disorienting of their closeup, then harshly come into focus when she returns to actuality. When Sarah begins to lose management, Snook bodily takes her character to that darkish place, however the movie’s digital camera immerses the viewer in her unease.
Motherhood, like excessive moments of grief, could be among the many most life-changing experiences—a transparent demarcation of life earlier than and after the occasion. Typically, it may also be coupled with excessive emotions of isolation, which on this horror film, makes an individual susceptible to the ghosts of their previous. “Run Rabbit Run” is a strong spooky story with out something too flashy like a Babadook to hang-out our desires and memes however chilling sufficient to make us sit up in our chair and scan the display screen for the following signal of hazard. Whereas a fluffy white rabbit could also be a logo of innocence, it leads Sarah down a nightmarish model of “Alice in Wonderland.” The moms on this movie are haunted by the errors they made. Joan by no means appeared to have recovered from Alice’s disappearance, and Sarah’s barely buried trauma resurfaces her personal emotions of remorse over failing her daughter. And as soon as Sarah is thru the wanting glass, are she and Mia secure? Are any of us?
On Netflix now.
Run Rabbit Run (2023)
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