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Photo: ‘Run Sweetheart Run’
When it comes to today’s horror movies, the genre is ever-changing due to raising the stakes for the characters, having a high body count, and demonstrating awareness of unsettling circumstances that come from unheard voices or minorities. The movie was written (along with writers Keith Josef Adkins and Kelle Terrel) and directed by Shana Feste. Shana is well-known for making underrated gems like ‘Country Strong,’ the 2014 remake of ‘Endless Love,’ and ‘Hilary Swank’s ‘You’re Not You.’ The horror story has an interesting take on the dating scene in the 21st-century era and how a female can be a victim of a violent bad date. Even though the protagonist is the victim of such a predicament, she becomes her own hero of the story. The movie is released by Amazon Prime and is produced by Jason Blum from Blumhouse Productions.
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The Film’s Merits
The film has female empowerment written all over it. Not only it features a female writer and director behind it, it also has the African-American British actress Ella Balinska as the lead female protagonist named Cherie, a single mother who is trying to assimilate into the dating world. The movie is pretty thrilling since it makes us aware of how a male serial killer can create a “nice guy facade” to lure his unfortunate victim. It makes not only female audiences, but also male audiences aware that females of any age can fall into the trap of online dating. It raises the current issue that cell phone use can be a tool for predators since they can trick their prey with a good profile picture and all. The director made the movie with intention of basing her real-life encounter on a violent date that lead to sexual assault. Balinska is the perfect actress for the role since her viewers might recognize her from the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ reboot.
An Interesting Premise
Ella Balinksa plays the single mother who is an aspiring lawyer whose current job is working as a secretary for the firm partner James R. Fuller (played by Clark Gregg). There seems to be an unplanned booking of Cherie’s meeting with a handsome client Ethan (played by Pilou Asbæk) who charms her. The two of them seem to spark some great vibes toward each other. Eventually, Ethan finds the opportunity to take Cherie to his Los Angeles home. When Ethan reveals his disturbing persona, she flees after she gets battered by him. However, the story does not end there. It continues as we see our main character go through the places of Los Angeles on foot. Ethan uses his resources to track her down. The cat-and-mouse story turns into something that is far more complicated.
Ethan is a very rich man that has the power to do harm to a woman’s life, and would most likely get away from it. As soon as the film continues, we see Cherie refusing to be the victim of the story by running for her life. This will make film buffs remember the title ‘Run Lola Run,’ which is another film that features a woman running throughout the story. The female empowerment will also remind others of another Jason Blum-produced remake of the horror film ‘Black Christmas,’ another movie directed by a woman named Sophia Takal. The remake is loosely based on Bob Clark’s original 1974 horror film.
‘Run Sweetheart Run’
The movie will have the audience at the edge of their seats. Ethan becomes as ruthless as Michael Meyers – meaning that he will stop at nothing to hunt down Cherie. There are moments when Ethan breaks the fourth wall and gives the audience the idea that he will be doing something sinister to the hero. Some of the audiences watching the film, they will interpret Ethan as a misogynistic being due to the fact that he uses his wealth to have his evil way with his female prey. What makes the film even more exciting is the fact of how resourceful Ethan can be in finding Cherie. He also has inhuman-like qualities which will creep out audiences. I won’t be spoiling or giving away specific details about the villain, but some of Ethan’s weird antics will have audiences gasping.
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‘Run Sweetheart Run’ isn’t a film that’s probably going to win some Oscars. Its intention of being made is to have an interesting take on the horror genre that will be glorified for fans who love Grindhouse Films and who aren’t afraid to use blood and gore as shock factors to its audiences. They for one will love it. What makes this movie original is the fact that it makes a female victim into a heroine of her story. The film doesn’t glorify the stigma of damsel in distress, it challenges it. Producer Jason Blum took the opportunity to have Shana Feste create a unique story of a single mother who is running away from her evil date. The movie may be a cautionary tale about the dangers of getting to know somebody who has a lot of power. It’s not easy being a woman in the 21st century who is most likely going to be tricked by a predator who possesses the skills of creating a facade that will lure women to their doom.
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Although, I must warn the female audiences. Some of the violence in this film will be triggering for the female audience on how abusive males can be. Nonetheless, it’s an empowering horror thriller for the modern age. It is a work of fiction that may have been created by a loose story. Some film buffs will understand that a fictionalized work can entertain and enlighten a good message of female empowerment. Of course, the violence is going to be graphic for the sake of the shock factor. It’s traditional, but never too gratuitous or demeaning for the female audience.
Written and Directed by Shana Feste
Produced by Jason Blum, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, and Shana Feste
Starring Ella Balinska, Pilou Asbaek, Clark Gregg, Aml, Ammen, Dayo Okeniyi, Betsy Brandt, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Cinematography by Barosz Nalazek
By Marco Castaneda
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