"Too Violent and Attractive for Potential Copycat School Shooters"
What You Need To Know:
Though it takes too long to get to the first major plot point, RUN FIGHT HIDE is a gripping, suspenseful, well-written thriller. Led by several veterans playing adults, the cast does an excellent job. Isabel May delivers an especially powerful performance as the heroine, Zoe. The movie’s positive and exciting moral, redemptive worldview extols courage in the face of great evil, risking your life to help other people, and sacrifice. However, RUN HIDE FIGHT has too much strong foul language. Also, the school shootings depicted are just too horrific. In fact, they could perhaps instigate actual school shootings by a few impressionable schoolchildren somewhere down the line.
RUN HIDE FIGHT is an intense thriller about a 17-year-old who decides to help her fellow students when some young, nihilistic hooligans burst into her high school, brutally slaughter a few students, and hold the school hostage. Streaming on the political news website The Daily Wire, RUN HIDE FIGHT is a gripping, suspenseful, powerful with excellent performances and positive Christian, moral content, but the ultraviolent, disturbing pointblank shootings of high school students, not to mention all the strong foul language in the dialogue, are excessive and could (intentionally or not) promote copycat violence.
The movie opens with 17-year-old Zoe Hull and her father, Todd, hunting a deer one early morning before school. Zoe successfully shoots an adult deer, but then has to bash its head when they discover it’s still alive.
At home, Zoe eats a bowl of cereal before leaving for school. Her mother in the kitchen admonishes Zoe to stop wolfing down her food, but the mother disappears when Zoe’s father enters. It soon becomes apparent that Zoe often talks to her mother, who died in the last year after suffering from terminal cancer. Zoe’s father tries to talk to Zoe about her inability to move on from her mother’s passing, but Zoe becomes surly and leaves when her friend, Lewis, comes to pick her up for school.
While driving to school, Lewis and Zoe are harassed on the road by three classmates in a sporty Jeep SUV. One of the boys moons them as the Jeep pulls up alongside Lewis’ car. The boy in the passenger seat crudely asks them if they’ve had sexual relations yet, so Zoe hurls some insults out the window at the fellow. The boys then run Lewis’ car off the road. The car’s carburetor is flooded, so Zoe advises Lewis to wait to restart his car. While they’re stopped, they see another classmate, a boy named Chris, get out of a white van and place a bucket in the field on the opposite side of the road. Lewis notices that the van belongs to Chris’ buddy, Tristan Voy. He reminds Zoe it’s school prank day, so they’re liable to see all kinds of stupid things today. Zoe groans, adding that they’re also probably going to see some stupid prom proposals.
Sure enough, in Zoey’s first class, a student dressed up in Shakespearean garb makes a goofy prom proposal to an Asian student. Then, at lunch in the school cafeteria, there’s another goofy prom proposal. Lewis makes the mistake of suggesting to Zoe they should go to the prom together. Zoe gets upset and accidentally spills some of her juice drink on her father’s old army jacket, which she’s taken to wearing since her mother’s death. Zoe leaves for the restroom to rinse off the juice.
While Zoe’s in the restroom, Tristan’s white van suddenly busts through the large cafeteria window. Chris, his sister Anna, Tristan, and another student named Kip step out of the van and start brutally shooting a few students point blank. Tristan, who’s obviously the leader, starts herding the surviving students on the other side of the cafeteria.
Meanwhile, the Asian student from the earlier scene in Zoe’s classroom, who was shot near the cafeteria door next to the short hallway leading to the restrooms, manages to crawl into the girl’s restroom, where she dies in Zoe’s arms. Zoe slips into the hallway to see what’s happening when a boy exits the boys restroom. Zoe tries silently to motion the boy not to go into the cafeteria, but he does anyway, and Tristan orders him to sit with the other students. Tristan sends Kip to see if anyone else is back there. Before he gets to the hallway, Zoe’s mother appears and tells her, “Run!” Zoe slips back into the girls restroom and lifts herself into the ceiling crawlspace above the restroom stalls just as Kip enters and starts checking the stalls.
Tristan starts ordering the surviving students to get out their smartphones and start calling their parents, the police or whoever they want. While they’re doing that, Zoe accidentally falls through the plywood ceiling in the kitchen. Tristan orders Chris, “Kill whoever that is.” While Chris is searching for her, Zoe notices that the lunch lady is hiding just nearby. The lady has her phone open and her husband comes on the line. She steps out from her hiding place and begins to berate Chris, who then blasts her with his rifle. He takes the lady’s phone, tells her husband he’s just killed his wife and returns to the cafeteria.
Zoe manages to run outside but stops in her tracks to go back. After telling some smokers outside what’s happening, she and one of the girls with the smokers go to warn the other teachers through the classroom windows. The first teacher shuts the window blind on them, but at the second classroom, Zoe throws a rock through the window to get his attention.
Back in the cafeteria, Tristan calls the front office and tells them what’s happening. The secretary starts calling 911 while the principal and the school security guard rush to the cafeteria. The principal tries to reason with Tristan, but Tristan reminds the principal how badly he treated Tristan just the day before. Tristan managed to get himself sent to the principal’s office twice the day before, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Tristan tells the principal he stole his school keys in the morning, got them copied during lunch, then returned them in the afternoon, Chris then shoots the principal dead but lets the security guard escape.
Tristan orders the students to start filming him. As they start filming, he orders the big tech companies hosting the videos not to cut him off or he will kill all the students. Tristan then asks the students who’s getting the most viewers, and it turns out to be Lewis. So, Tristan orders him to be the video guy documenting Tristan’s evil exploits. Tristan turns out to be a cynical, nihilistic humanist who likes to mock the world, like a disturbing realistic version of some comic book villain. In the first few minutes of following Tristan as he holds court, Lewis notices that Tristan and Chris have filled the white van in the cafeteria with explosives in buckets.
Zoe pulls the fire alarm in the classroom while the students start leaving through the window, but Tristan has sent Anna out to cut the phone and electricity wires. So, Anna smashes the electrical box connecting all the school’s fire alarms, shoots the janitor there dead and turns off all the lights. Zoe rushes into the hall to go to the main office. Just as she approaches the office, a bomb explodes that Kip had planted earlier when he intentionally left a backpack there.
The bomb kills the security guard and the office secretary, plus a couple city police officers. The county sheriff arrives and starts watching Tristan’s diabolical video show while Anna and Kip begin rounding up the other classrooms to bring students and teachers to the cafeteria. Zoe decides it’s up to her to save as many people as she can. Especially when she learns from Lewis that Tristan has rigged his van for a huge explosion in the cafeteria.
Though it takes a little too long to get to the first major plot point, RUN FIGHT HIDE is a gripping, suspenseful, well-written thriller. The cast does an excellent job. It’s led by talented veterans such as Treat Williams as the county sheriff, Radha Mitchell as Zoe’s mother and Thomas Jane as Zoe’s father. Isabel May of Netflix TV’s ALEXA & KATE delivers a powerful performance as Zoe, the heroine of the piece. Also, though his character is written to be world-weary even for a cynical teenager, 21-year-old Eli Brown makes for a pretty good villain viewers can hate. Director Kyle Rankin, who also wrote the screenplay, and his cinematographer and editor, Darin Moran and Matthew Lorentz, do a fine job tying everything together.
That said, RUN HIDE FIGHT has more than 55 mostly strong obscenities, including many “f” words, plus at least eight strong profanities. It also contains some very strong, disturbing violence, especially the early pointblank murders of high school students. The foul language and especially the extreme violence undercut the movie’s positive and exciting message promoting courage in the face of great evil, risking your life to help other people, making sacrifices, and forming strong family bonds between parents and children. It also undercuts a nice scene where the heroine’s father thanks Jesus for the heroic exploits she did in saving the lives of many people.
Normally, MOVIEGUIDE® might give RUN FIGHT HIDE only an extreme caution, but most of the movie’s school shootings are just too horrific. As actually happened in the case of the Columbine, Colorado school shootings in 1999 and the movie BASKETBALL DIARIES, the school shootings in RUN HIDE FIGHT could instigate actual school shootings by a few impressionable schoolchildren somewhere down the line. So, MOVIEGUIDE® can’t, in good conscience, give RUN HIDE FIGHT anything but an unacceptable Minus 3 rating. Studies have shown that 7-11 percent of children and teenagers are susceptible to acting out or copying the violence they see in movies, television programs and video games. Not all those children and teenagers will end up murdering or even just hurting anyone, of course, but too many do.