You Can’t Run Forever: Fleeing the Danger

No matter how strong you may be, no one can run forever.

In You Can’t Run Forever, Miranda (Isabelle Anaya) is a young woman who is plagued by anxiety and grief as the result of a recent trauma. However, when she inadvertently finds herself the target of Wade (J.K. Simmons, a psychotic serial killer, she must put aside her feelings and flee into the woods to save her life. As the darkness begins to fall, tap into her inner strength if she wants to survive until morning.

Directed by Michelle Schumacher, You Can’t Run Forever is an intense thriller that takes a simple premise and furiously executes its action. Featuring a positively maniacal Simmons and some solid work by Anaya, the film is able to overcome any potential shortcomings with its sheer enthusiasm and energy. This tightly-written piece keeps its story small but its intensity high amidst the chaos. Despite a few shortcomings (such as the film’s bumbling police), there’s more than enough fun to fuel the film and keep the audience engaged. 

Much of the film’s success lies at the feet of Simmons, who absolutely steals the show. While the Oscar winner has portrayed villains before, here he’s allowed to play a character that’s entirely unhinged. As Wade, he brandishes his gun with a freewheeling glee, looking for nothing more than the next body to bury. However, at the same time, the viewer can’t help but feel a certain empathy towards him. In essence, Wade is such force of nature that the viewer can’t help but wonder how he became so shattered. Similar to Michael Douglas’ William Foster in Falling Down, the viewer senses the brokenness within him, even if we cannot support his actions.

And it’s the theme of brokenness that tries to help the film cut a little deeper. For example, You Can’t Run Forever’s title seems to carry a double meaning. While, of course, the title refers to its narrative pursuit, it also speaks to the emotional journey of its characters, especially Miranda. Having lost her father, her grief is overwhelming. Living in emotional denial, she struggles to get through the day. But things change when she falls into Wade’s crosshairs. 

Suddenly, she is forced to disappear into the woods for her own survival. But we also recognize that she’s running from her own feelings as much as she is trying to survive. Her escape from Wade is physical and visceral. Yet, at the same time, her mind works hard to flee her pain. In both cases, Miranda believes that the only way to be free is to run for her life.  (It’s also worth noting that Miranda’s emotional state is held in juxtaposition with Wade’s inability to cope with his own situation as well.)

In the end, it’s this second layer of meaning that makes You Can’t Run Forever unique. Rather than simply another movie of murderous mayhem, Forever keeps its focus on the emotional journey of its characters enough to keep the film running smoothly. 

You Can’t Run Forever is available in theatres now.

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