Political controversy aside, ‘The Daily Wire Movie’ is an effective, schlocky school-shooting thriller
In normal times, someone might have given a solid B-movie like Run Hide Fight a theatrical release. It might even have hauled in some decent box office numbers. But because our reality is the strangest one, The Daily Wire bought the movie to distribute exclusively on their platform, which upsets people mightily. Apparently, some people involved with the production want The Daily Wire to scrub their names from the credits, lest anyone think they align with Ben Shapiro and his Band of Mighty Minions. A stance like that feels extra ridiculous when one considers how many Miramax movies exist, credits intact.
Run Hide Fight is a horror movie disguised as an action-thriller. From the title alone, viewers know what will happen. The expected dread settles in quickly.
Sad girl Zoe and her nerdy best friend Lewis are totally over their small town and ready to flee after graduation. But first, they need to get through an annoying day of promposals and senior pranks. As it turns out, they’re also gonna need to survive a gang of active shooters and their highly orchestrated plan to terrorize and take over the school.
While other movies might delve into the psychology of the murderers, and earnestly want us to understand, deep character development isn’t at play in Run Hide Fight. Zoe wants to survive, and to save as many people as she can. In a clunky narrative device, she periodically sees the ghost of her dead mother, who advises her to either run, hide, or fight. She acts accordingly to liberate her locked-down classmates while also taking out members of the school’s terrorist squad.
In spite of the distributor, the movie isn’t particularly “conservative,” which for me reads as code for “Mega Christian,” and creates disturbing mental images of Willie Aames dancing with Kirk Cameron while praising Their Lord before Ted Cruz strolls onscreen to give a big wink and a thumbs up before stopping an abortion or something. Seeking overt messaging buried in the tension fest that is Run Hide Fight would be like looking for deep significance in a Child’s Play movie.
It exists to terrify us, and show us what it feels like to experience our worst modern horror. Any extraneous information is simply there for the audience to unpack at will, or not. The movie gives some heavy-handed airtime to the culpability of social media, along with the repercussions of bullying. No one discusses where these kids got their weapons, but the police swiftly arrest the upright citizen with a gun who assists Zoe all deus ex machina style. Maybe that’s a sort of balance?
The cast gamely gives its all, and the director paces the film briskly. Though schlocky, the production brings every parent and student’s nightmare to life. Vividly. It’s unfortunate the movie’s marriage to The Daily Wire app will scare away Shapiro-averse viewers. Though it happens to be a product Ben’s company purchased, Run Hide Fight also surprisingly happens to be totally worth watching.