Recently added to Shudder is the short horror film, The Runner. The movie – which stretches to just under 40 minutes in length – is an unusual piece of filmmaking, about a mysterious and potentially demonic woman.

In the movie, the unnamed woman (played by Kris Esfandiari) travels to a small town, where she hooks up with one of the locals. She then reveals her true self, in a blood-thirsty manner, by killing the person she gets close to.

The woman then wanders around the woods, covered in blood, and looking at the world around her. Never speaking and never revealing the full details of her story, the woman remains an enigmatic figure throughout.

Who is she and what does she want (?), are questions left for the audience to decide. This is largely because this isn’t a movie in the traditional sense, instead this film is an avant-garde piece, mostly open to interpretation.

The whole thing is directed by American electro group, Boy Harsher, with the band featuring in clips dotted throughout the movie. Boy Harsher’s music also appears across the film, providing the soundtrack to the story.

In layman’s terms The Runner is essentially an extended music video. The film provides a platform for a collection of tracks, with some grim imagery being used to provide visual representation for the music.  

It is a film in the loosest sense of the word and certainly not something made for mainstream audiences. It is more akin to an experimental piece of cinema, which can provide visuals to Boy Harsher’s songs, and should be viewed accordingly.

Image: ©Nude Club/Boy Harsher
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I expect fans of the group will seek The Runner out, and find it to be an interesting slice of film, with shots that suit the intoxicating sounds of each track. I also believe those who like off-the-wall shorts or experimental cinema, will find something here to sink their teeth into.

However, I expect many Shudder subscribers will stumble upon this film, not really knowing what it is, and will come away somewhat baffled after they have checked it out. This is very much a divisive horror short, which certainly won’t be for everyone, and may leave many feeling rather perplexed.

Image: ©Nude Club/Boy Harsher
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In terms of the visuals on display, I believe they capture the mood of the music well, and they suit the electronic sounds, but they don’t really push the boundaries or offer anything new. The majority of this film plays on recognisable tropes and imagery that one would expect from the horror genre, and that’s about it.

Some of the shots look good, but they really aren’t anything amazing. For the most part, I found them to be quite unappealing and frankly quite bland, often creating a distraction from the music.

Image: ©Nude Club/Boy Harsher

Prior to watching this short, I was not familiar with Boy Harsher, but I found the soundtrack to The Runner to be something that I enjoyed very much. I now wish to seek out more music from this group, and will be heading to YouTube to do some homework.

But as for The Runner itself, the movie didn’t really work for me – only the sounds. So, it is a ‘yes’ to the music, but a ‘no’ to the 40(ish)-minutes of video footage, which all seemed rather pointless in the grand scheme of things.

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