This Jan. 14 marked the premiere of The Daily Wire’s first film. The inaugural movie, ‘Run Hide Fight,’ depicts a high school senior, Zoe (Isabel May), who saves her peers and teachers from a school shooter.
An early reviewer, Lauren Chen, noted, “This movie was not produced by The Daily Wire.” The company’s decision to buy “Run Hide Fight” is part of a strategic move to become a major entertainment streaming service, like Netflix or Disney+. The Daily Wire’s staff mentioned this business decision, as well as advertisements for sponsors, ExpressVPN and Bravo Company USA, in a preliminary discussion about the film before it premiered.
This discussion opened with clips of early reviewers lauding “Run Hide Fight,” including Chen and intellectual dark web sensation, Dave Rubin. The staff then went on to explore what they felt was a culture war within Hollywood and how the content of this particular film, which is lurid and deviates from traditional values, will fill a creative void in the entertainment industry.
At first, I thought Zoe was apathetic, with a disdain for most activities other characters are enthusiastic about. Her best friend, Louis, tries to energize her for senior prank day, her nihilism evident when she tells him, “This is high school. Nothing here matters in the real world.” Another figure who tries to change Zoe’s life philosophy is her chemistry teacher, reminding her that, once one of the best students in her class, Zoe is now devoid of effort. This pessimism is understandable, a result of trauma, as Zoe had recently lost her mother (Radha Mitchell), who frequently appears throughout the movie as a figment of her imagination. Her mother, despite being dead, is a central character to the film, often espousing key truths Zoe otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.
Zoe reveals herself as being truly badass once the school shooting starts. It is apparent she does love her friends and the hate that used to translate into apathy now fuels her anger towards the shooters, empowering her to become the heroine of this movie. Equipped with a knowledge of guns from the first scene of the movie, where she and her dad hunt a deer, she perseveres in evading the shooters. Part luck and part calculated planning, she utilizes her survival to warn others of the heinous events surrounding them.
May did a remarkable job conveying the intricacies of Zoe’s emotions, her response to trauma and how adverse stimuli would physically affect her. Eli Brown, the actor who plays Tristan, the main antagonist, also acted in his role superbly. Throughout the movie, Tristan sought two things: to bolster his Thanatos drive and accumulate fame in doing so. My critique of Tristan is that the writer, P.F. Sloan, did not have to make him bisexual. His love triangle with one of the other shooters and that character’s sister demonizes homosexuality, with little justification as to why. This is crucial when Disney has a history of queercoding villains and “Run Hide Fight,” a non-Disney film, only perpetuates a toxic trope.
Overall, despite its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed “Run Hide Fight.” I was glued to my screen, not feeling the temptation to check social media or Google random research. The film is an expertly crafted thriller that grabs a viewer’s attention. Yes, Zoe dislikes many elements of her life, but that is ultimately what drives her to save her peers and quash Tristan’s nefarious plan. I would have preferred Tristan to be straight, in hopes that his sexual orientation would not be framed as interrelated to his amorality. Even so, “Run Hide Fight” is entertaining and I would recommend it to a friend.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars