A year after Addison Davenport’s husband was found murdered in their home, the emotional wounds are still raw and gaping. On this devastating anniversary, Addison’s in-laws generously offer her their summer cabin as a healing retreat. With her four best friends in tow, Addie sets off for this idyllic spot, deep in the woods, to find some peace and possibly even some fun. But it soon becomes clear that the girls are not alone, as each is savagely captured and terrorized. One of them is hiding a dark secret, for which their tormentor plans to exact a brutal revenge. Before the night is over, what began as a carefree road trip will descend into a shocking bloodbath of malice and butchery.
In the film, RUN,HIDE, DIE. It has been a rough year for Addison Nace. One year ago, after a fight between the two, Addison returned home to find her husband, Alex dead. Although it has been one full year, the event is still fresh in her mind. To hopefully ease the pain, Addison receives an invitation from her in-laws, Alex's parents; Jim and Janet - to use their summer cabin for a getaway, of sorts. Wanting to get away for awhile, Addison doesn't second guess the offer, and with her, she brings along four friends; Billy, Gina, Indy and Ariel(who happens to be her cousin). The five ladies load up in a van, and soon set out to reach the idyllic cabin in the woods. Once there a normal evening of good times ensues, but as soon as night falls, it becomes apparent that the girls aren't alone. However, before the group can realize, they find themselves bound, gagged and being tortured, by someone with revenge on their mind. As things unfold, it would appear that there is more to this getaway than what Addison initially was led to believe.
Throughout the long history of the Horror film, the idea of young people, somehow ending up in the woods, only to be stalked by some sort of killer, has long been a go to formula for the genre. The scenario has played out so many times, that films are always searching for new, and inventive ways to do it. But, no matter how many times we have seen such a story, sometimes we can still be surprised when a film does just that, and ends up being something totally clever. With that said, that is exactly what the indie Horror film, RUN, HIDE, DIE, is faced with right out of the gate. The script, which was penned by the film's star, Alison Monda("Addison"), initially presents itself as the predictable and typical "young people in the woods" fare. It is the most typical of setups. So typical, that before it gets off and running, that the viewer is already hoping for something unseen to come in to play, something a little less predictable. Fortunately something does, but for a film that runs at just 75 minutes, things just develop a little too quickly for its own good. It's because of this, that the film never really has the chance to develop into something that is entirely fulfilling.
I mean, don't get me wrong, RUN,HIDE, DIE, is a film that is low budget in just about every aspect, but I really liked its general idea. In the film, it is revealed that Addison and her friends were actually lured to the cabin, by a person, or persons, who want to exact their revenge for a secret that one of the girls is harboring. While, I do not want to give one of the film's big reveals away, I will say that RUN,HIDE, DIE, does take a cue from a number of films in this area, namely films such as THE MUTILATOR, TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT, and even FRIDAY THE 13TH. And notice that I said "one" of the film's big reveals. Yes, that's not all, as when the true secret is revealed, it amplifies the story even further. And with all of this, I have yet to even make reference to the plot idea that I liked most here. That would be the way in which the torture in the film all plays out. Long story short : In the film, Addison's cousin "Ariel", just so happens to be an actress, and because of that, she has brought along with her, the script for the latest film, in which she has been cast - a Horror film. So what does a wide-eyed and crazy killer do when they get their hands on such script? Well, they make their victims act out the parts. That's what. In a rather unpredictable, and clever turn, yes, the film's villain forces the women to act out the movie with each other, yes, right down to its acts of cannibalism. Which goes back to what I was talking about. The film needed something that was a little bit unique, a little bit unpredictable. This particular element, would be that thing. But unfortunately, everything just comes across in a rush, having no time to build.
When I began watching the film, I causally checked to see how long the film ran, and was shocked to find that it ran just 75 minutes. Knowing this, I then wondered how a film that hosted 5 potential victims would manage. How would so much information be crammed into so little time? Well, I figured that things would have to come and go in a flash, and indeed I was right. After what I am guessing is about a 5 minute setup, RUN,HIDE, DIE goes into complete "fast forward mode", if you will. And before you know it, one thing is gone, and we're on to the next. First we are quickly introduced to our characters, getting only the gist of their separate personalities, the next minute they're all in a van, heading to the summer cabin. Then they're there for what seems to be only a second, before the night hits. And when the night hits, that of course means that they are then seen captured, bound, and tortured. The problem with this is, that at this point, because everything has moved so quickly, we the viewer have just barely gotten to know each of the characters. Beyond one of them, being a lesbian, who's into Punk Rock, one being an actress, and of course Addison being a widow for one year, that is about all we know about them, which renders the five victims, rather empty, character-wise. Because of this, when they end up being on the receiving end of torture in the end, we barely care, because we are just not invested in them. I feel that the film could have fared much better if there had been more time dedicated to fleshing out the story a little more, there just needed to be more build up to it. While, yes, as I said, I did like the idea behind the killer's motive, and in the way which they choose. to carry out their revenge, the idea has very little available to it, in order to further add to its impact or impression. There are no emotions attaching us to the story or its characters, and things just move so quickly, that by the time things go down, our minds are still processing things. Therefore, all of the film's big revealing moments, and "surprises", come and go with a lot less shock value than what was intended.
And while I would like to comment on the acting found in RUN,HIDE, DIE, I find that I just can't. It's not exactly because the acting is bad per say, or anything like that. It is simply because, the script didn't offer much in terms of character, and because of that, the cast didn't have much to draw from. Things go from point A to point B, so quickly here, that the characters are just mere shells of what they could have been, as they spout dialogue, that seems to be trying just a little too hard to be funny, and witty. I really can't speak on any of the portrayals, because all that we get here are just hints of the individual characters, and not much else.
Overall, RUN,HIDE, DIE ends up being a disappointment. Because after seeing it, and seeing the ideas it presented, I know that it could have possibly been a far better film. It's just that this film seems to have been rushed. The finished product that we see here, is the type of thing that I would expect to see from a film that is meant to be used as a demo. Yes, you know. The kind of film, which filmmakers spend a little money on, and make, only to show to backers and distributors, in hopes that they would be willing to finance a bigger budgeted version of a script(Think Lucky McKee's ALL CHEERLEADERS MUST DIE). It feels like one of those films. The script is hastily plotted, the characters are not fully formed, and the overall execution is mediocre - but then there's the motive of the film's villain, which is intended to be the centerpiece. Unfortunately it is all overshadowed by the script, which offers very little in terms of general support for it. Like its characters, it just feels empty, and lacking.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Originally released under the more fitting title, THE ANNIVERSARY(because although there is some running and dying in the film, the script doesn't give anyone time to hide. Bad title. It was just applied to the film to sell it - no doubt.), RUN,HIDE, DIE is a film that comes to us with a lot of potential to be good. But, unfortunately it is a film that fails to hit the mark, due to a script and accompanying characters that are just too underdeveloped. In a few words, all I can say is that RUN,HIDE, DIE is a film that is over before the audience really has a chance to care.
This film will be released on DVD on September 1, 2015