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‘YOU CAN’T RUN FOREVER’ Movie Review: A High-Stakes, Thought-Provoking Suspense Thriller Elevated by Stellar Performances

Synopsis: a teenage girl suffering from anxiety due to a tragic event from her past finds herself hunted through the woods by a sociopath on a murderous rampage.

I was immediately intrigued by this thriller – I mean, J.K. Simmons as a spree killer? Count me in! 

Easy pitch, right?

You Can’t Run Forever is a fast-paced thriller that grips you from the opening scene as Wade (Simmons) rolls into a gas station on his motorbike and calmly shoots the patrons who are unlucky enough to be in plain sight. “Why are you doing this?” a victim asks him. His reply is ice cold, “Does it matter.”

Oscar-winning actor Simmons delivers a chilling performance as a ruthless killer, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. His presence elevates the film, bringing a touch of class to the narrative crafted by screenwriters Carolyn Carpenter and Michelle Schumacher. The film is also directed by Schumacher (AKA Mrs. J.K. Simmons) herself, and showcases a family affair with her daughter, Olivia Simmons, in a supporting role, her son, Joe, providing an atmospheric score, and her brother, Randle, overseeing production.

The story centres around Miranda – played confidently by Isabelle Anaya in only her fifth role – who suffers with anxiety because of the traumatic death of her father. The film sensitively, if a tad melodramatically, explores how Miranda employs coping mechanisms to deal with her anxiety and prevent panic attacks, offering a raw and emotional portrayal of mental health issues that are affecting younger generations more significantly than ever before in this post Covid world; a point that Schumacher was keen to convey in a recent interview about the movie.

However, nothing could prepare Miranda for bumping into Wade, who fixates on her after killing her poor stepfather Eddie (Allen LeechBohemian Rhapsody), pursuing her deep into the woods as she runs for her life. A gripping cat-and-mouse chase ensues and as the body count grows, Wade finds out more about his quarry’s family, ultimately leading to the films tense climax.

The supporting cast shines with Fernanda Urrejola delivering an excellent performance as Jenny, Miranda’s heavily pregnant mother. Her portrayal captures the heart-wrenching desperation of a mother yearning to support her daughter in every way possible, yet finds herself rendered powerless, able only to offer her comforting presence when needed most. Much like Simmons, Urrejola’s prowess elevates the overall quality of the film that, while succeeding in its entertainment value, occasionally falters due to some clunky dialogue and a lack of visual flair.

Despite its shortcomings, You Can’t Run Forever still remains an engaging thriller that delivers both thrills and substance in equal measure, ultimately leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.

VERDICT:

You Can’t Run Forever is in select theaters, On Demand, and On Digital May 17, 2024.

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