A fundamental part of mainstream movies is that there is an audience for any film that is made. Even films that are truly unpleasant experiences such a Cannibal Holocaust or The Entity have their audiences. Unless a film was made purposefully with the intention of having no audience, there is always be an audience, right? The Runners puts that theory to the test and raises many questions along the way.
After his parents were killed in a car accident with a drunk driver, Ryan became his sister’s guardian and has been doing his best to raise her. At the age of 17, the last thing Zoey wants is to be nagged at by her older brother trying to be her parents. After an argument, Zoey ignores her brother’s orders to come home and instead goes to a party with her boyfriend, where she is knocked out and kidnapped by a stranger. After some investigation, Ryan discovers Zoey has been kidnapped by human traffickers and teams up with his best friend to get her back.
When it is said that there is no audience for The Runners, one might ask themselves what type of movie is it and who are they trying to appeal to. One possibility set up early is that this may be a film for Christian folks with the Hallmark-style introduction that looks like it is going to be a generic story of a brother and sister reconnecting through an awful situation and their faith getting them through it. That possibly goes clear out the window when the film has multiple murders, a very unsettling near-rape scene, and a human trafficking facility that includes crying children.
Earlier in the film, Ryan becomes upset with the Police feeling let down that they don’t take his missing person report seriously, leading him to track down the kidnappers himself with his gun-toting best friend. Later it turns out they need the help of the police, so is it possible that The Runners is looking for a pro-police audience by having them heroically save the main characters? Absolutely not, considering we first see the police chief actively dismissing the call for help, only taking the call after a fellow police officer urges him to reconsider. So the FBI and the swat team are called in and look to be doing a good job until they bumble in ways that are inept beyond belief and downright embarrassing
Finally, after an hour and a half, there is a text box before the credits that talks about human trafficking and give some statistics. So while it may be a bad film, The Runners must at least be trying to bring some attention to this crisis and spread the word. Except the film left out the number to call if you have any information on human trafficking activity. If there was every a community or an audience for this film, the only one that would make any sense is the “so bad its good” fans, because this film can’t logically appeal to any others.
2 out of 10
The Runners is available 7/14 on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment.