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J.K. Simmons is the only bright spot in the dull You Can't Run Forever


Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons brings his captivating aura to the thriller "You Can't Run Forever" under the direction of Michelle Schumacher, who collaborates with Carolyn Carpenter on the screenplay. 

Miranda, played by Isabella Anaya, is a young woman grappling with intense anxiety due to a past tragedy. Adding to her challenges, her mother, Jenny (Fernanda Urrejola), has remarried Eddie (Allan Leech) and is expecting a baby. Furthermore, Miranda has gained a new older stepsister, Emily (Olivia Simmons), adding complexity to her family dynamic.


On a bonding trip with Eddie, Miranda's world is shattered when a notorious serial killer named Wade, played by J.K. Simmons, fixates on her as his next victim. As the heart-pounding pursuit unfolds in the depths of the woods, Miranda discovers reservoirs of resilience within herself as she fights to outmaneuver her relentless and deadly pursuer.


For readers of the production notes, there might be an initial impression that "You Can't Run Forever" is tainted by nepotism. This assumption arises from the fact that our lead actor's wife serves as the director, his daughter plays a co-starring role, and his son is responsible for composing the film's score. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that Simmons has been brilliantly embodying villainous characters for nearly three decades. Both the studio and creative team are masterfully leveraging this familial collaboration to captivate viewers.


The film wastes no time in setting up Wade's crazy as his introduction scene shows him gunning down some innocent bystanders in the film's first ten minutes. While watching the movie, the director didn't want to make a throwback-style B-movie. Instead, she wants the narrative to explore the themes of trauma and resilience, highlighting how individuals often doubt their ability to endure tragic events in their lives. 


However, this angle makes for a noncohesive storyline, as the film struggles to juggle both angles. Simmons can portray a role like this in his sleep, and I wish they had just made this a fun flick similar to 2020's "Unhinged." Watching Simmons gun down victim after victim with an ice-piercing look was outright chilling, but the film's pacing just drags, with little to no reason to root for Miranda to escape.


When we learn about our anatomist's backstory in the second half of the film, there is some meat there, and I wish the film had just honed in on his character's jobs and hunted a co-worker who is possibly an intern. Quickly losing steam and having no performances that match Simmons's intensity, "You Can't Run Forever" is one viewers can skip.


Final Grade: C-


"YOU CAN'T RUN FOREVER" is In Theaters, On Digital, and On Demand tomorrow. 


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