You Can’t Run Forever (2024) 

A teenage, already traumatized, girl crosses paths with a psychopath on a rampage.  

Written by Carolyn Carpenter and Michelle Schumacher, and directed by the latter, You Can’t Run Forever takes the idea of a man who has lost his mind going on a rampage, killing seemingly randomly until a teenage girl escapes him and becomes his obsession. As it stands, this story seems like it would have potential, making a game of cat and mouse in the forest with someone who is skilled at survival, or believes he is, and someone who is desperate to like even though she showed signs of depression before. The film takes this and makes it as bland as can possibly be, making the character simple as it can with generic backgrounds and not much personality to speak of. These are also mostly unlikable for how they treat the lead character and her PTSD, showing very little care for her. Once things hit the fan and the film is supposed to become a thriller, it just flops with zero tension and just nothing to make the viewer care. The story here is missing something, missing that spark from near the start, basically as soon as the central girl and her family show up. The opening and the first few kills show potential for a brutal film, and it just fizzles out. The writing is most definitely to blame here, and the directing doesn’t do much to help.  

The performances are overall fairly flat with most cast members saddled with bland characters and seemingly not caring enough about the project to wake these characters up. J.K. Simmons is the best of the bunch here, but that’s not saying much. He does what he can to give his psychopath character more meat to chew, but there isn’t much there, so even an actor of his caliber ends up floundering in this situation. The cast as a whole is interchangeable and uninterested while being utterly uninteresting. It’s a bit of mess on all levels. 

The one redeeming factor, which isn’t enough here, is the cinematography. It’s not exactly great, but it has its moments and the work by Pete Villani has its moments. Which are then killed by the film’s pacing. The images can try all they want to save a movie, if the film has pacing that is off and zero tension, these images become lost in the muck. 

You Can’t Run Forever is a movie that is frustrating to watch, starting strong and giving the inkling of a hope it might be a brutal film to just fizzle out soon after and never regain any momentum. There is no tension, the characters aren’t all that appealing and aren’t well-rounded, there is no spark. It’s like there was an idea but it was not fully developed before being put into production. The talent of J.K. Simmons is utterly wasted on this film and that may be the most frustrating part of it all. Without his name on the poster, most would bypass this film and justifiably so.