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  Runner, The Band On The Run
Year: 2022
Director: Boy Harsher
Stars: Jae Matthews, Augustus Miller, Kris Esfandiari, Cooper B. Handy, James Duval, Mariana Saldana, Sigrid Lauren, Aaron Ricks
Genre: Horror, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The electronic music duo Boy Harsher are recording in a garage studio, but their tunes turn up in the most unlikely of places, such as a television set in a room where a woman (Kris Esfandari) has escaped from to run off into the forest. Her distinguishing feature? She is covered with blood - but it is not her own, as we realise when we see her flag down a passing truck to give her a lift to her next port of call. The driver of that is dispatched with, just like the man in the room who sits in an armchair, eviscerated...

With Halsey's epic length video released in 2021 (well, it was epic length for a music video) it seemed she might have continued a trend you could trace back to Beyonce, and further when in the nineteen-eighties any artiste worth their salt was indulging their love of the movies with a long form exhibition of their tunes. Boy Harsher were part of that tradition, but while those other performers had channelled their funds into something glossy and accomplished, their efforts were more of the messing about in the countryside variety.

Aside from the scenes where we saw the band rehearse or perform on television with guest singers, most of this followed the titular runner who was, if the interview segment was to be believed, the fantasy alter ego of Matthews, someone who could get away with murder - literally - and have nothing but the tones of a harsh telephone call to consider as consequences to their bloody actions. Later we see her try to pick up a tall, bearded man in a bar, and go to the trailer of a woman (Sigrid Lauren) who appears to be up for seducing her.

More fool her, but she doesn't know what we know, and predictably the band, who created this themselves as a statement of something or other, left it open as to what the runner's ultimate fate would be. We did get a Dad's Army-style You Have Been Watching where the surprisingly large cast would indicate they were (mostly) cheerfully aware of the camera, which offered this a friendlier note to conclude with than the previous half hour or so of semi-slasher flick shenanigans (with a dash of the supernatural) would have indicated.

This may have been reassuring, but as a horror short it was not exactly terrifying, despite some pleasing lo-fi gore effects and makeup to be seen at various points. Their fans would be more interested in the music, which was chilly darkwave and perfectly acceptable, though its link to the visuals - apart from the shots of the musicians and a few bits with dancers - remained a conundrum. Maybe you had to listen closely to the lyrics. However, as a stunt to drum up interest in the band outside of their usual fanbase, it won points for sheer novelty, though its significance would have to be regarded solely by the initiated. Worth a look for the curious (those involved looked pretty curious themselves).

[Premieres on Shudder Sunday, January 16 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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