It can be hard to encapsulate what truly defines a film as “Australian” beyond a down-under twang but Run Rabbit Run has emerged as a compelling example of Australian storytelling.
Premiering at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the horror film became the third most popular film globally the week of its release on Netflix, delving deep into the psyche of its characters against a backdrop of stunning Australian landscapes.
Made by a team of Aussie creatives including director Daina Reid, writer Hannah Kent and producers Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw, Run Rabbit Run is a modern-day ghost story set in the heartland of rural South Australia.Fertility doctor Sarah (Sarah Snook) believes firmly in life and death, but after noticing the strange behavior of her young daughter, Mia (Lily LaTorre), must challenge her own values and confront a ghost from her past.
Going Beyond Slang
Speaking at Netflix’s APAC Film Showcase, Carver Films’ producer Anna McLeish highlights the importance of embracing distinctive Australian elements beyond slang, emphasizing the significance of landscape and mannerisms in capturing the essence of the country.
In Run Rabbit Run, the sweeping shots of regional Victoria and South Australia’s Riverland make it as much a love letter to the Australian landscape as it is a psychological thriller.
Pulling from her own childhood memories of Waikerie, writer Hannah Kent used the harsh, dry and elemental nature of an otherwise ordinary small town as a hauntingly oppressive backdrop for the character Sarah to spiral into her past trauma and serves as a visual metaphor for desolation and brutality.
Mother Knows Best
What sets Run Rabbit Run apart is not only its artistic merits but also its commitment to fostering female representation both in front of and behind the camera.
For global star Sarah Snook, the film is her first Australian project since starring in critically acclaimed series Succession. Snook, who recently became a mother herself, was particularly thrilled to join the project and “was really excited and happy to see so many women on set.”
In a male-dominated industry, Run Rabbit Run proudly boasts a female majority among its production heads. More specifically, for a film deeply connected to the challenges and expectations of motherhood, most of these women behind the film are working mothers themselves.
Director Daina Reid furthers this point, saying: “Run Rabbit Run is a unique take on the genre by offering a female perspective and exploration of themes such as motherhood, guilt and the female psyche. Sarah is a working mum. It’s the ground zero of guilt for so many of us.
“The jeopardy lies in Sarah’s emotional confrontation and eventual acceptance of her ghosts, in order to move forward and be the best mother to Mia. It is this ultimate acceptance of our imperfections and failings that I hope an audience will relate and connect to.”
‘Run Rabbit Run’ is now streaming on Netflix.