‘Run Rabbit Run’ Ending, Explained: Is Mia Dead? What Happens To Alice?


Run Rabbit Run is a new Australian horror film on Netflix that keeps itself open to interpretations of both the supernatural and the psychological. The plot follows a fertility doctor named Sarah, who is also a single mother to young Mia when suddenly Mia starts acting strange and misses people she has never met in her life. Although the slow burn approach and the acting performances are quite enjoyable, there is nothing spectacular or remarkable in Run Rabbit Run to make it an unusual watch.

Spoilers Alert

‘Run Rabbit Run’ Plot Summary: What Happens In The Film?

Run Rabbit Run begins on the morning of young Mia’s seventh birthday, with Sarah waking her up and making her favorite pancakes for breakfast. Sarah then takes Mia to school and then goes to her office, where she works as a fertility doctor. It is revealed that Sarah has recently lost her father, with whom she was seemingly very close, and she has not been able to get over his loss yet. As she drives Mia back home that day, the young girl says something strange about missing her grandmother, whom she has never met before. Sarah does not pay much heed to it and takes it as a harmless statement from a young child that does not mean much. Upon reaching home, Mia finds a bunny in front of their house, as if left by someone, and is excited to adopt it. Although Sarah does not want any such extra responsibility, she lets Mia keep it, at least for the day. A party is arranged for the occasion that evening, where Mia’s father, Pete, comes along with his current partner, Denise, and their son, Toby. Despite Toby and Mia being friends, the boy seems to attack Mia for some reason, and Sarah is quite harsh on him for doing so.

It is from this day that Mia starts to gradually behave quite strangely, even a bit creepy, as she runs around wearing a rabbit mask and then incessantly asks to be taken to her grandmother. While Sarah had been quite close to her father, her relationship with her mother, Joan, was not good at all. She hardly kept any contact with Joan, even though the mother was now suffering from dementia and living at an elderly care home. It is because of Mia’s requests, and sometimes even demands, that she be taken to meet Joan that Sarah makes the long drive to the elderly care home. Here, possibly because of her demented state, Joan refers to Mia as Alice, and even though she is meeting her granddaughter for the very first time, Joan acts as if she has known the girl so well. Mia, too, now demands to be called Alice and makes claims like Sarah is not her real mother. She starts to pretend like she is really Alice, which is extremely scary for Sarah, for Alice was her sister who had gone missing during their childhood days.

What Had Actually Happened To Alice?

Run Rabbit Run stands only on one grave secret in Sarah’s family: what exactly happened to her sister Alice. The film spends almost the entire duration gradually revealing what had happened, but honestly, it is quite predictable from early on. Sarah is clearly uncomfortable as soon as Mia starts to pretend like Alice, and even more so when her mother, Joan, refers to her daughter as Alice. During their first visit to the care home, when a huge ruckus is made by Joan and young Mia as the two have to be very forcefully separated from each other, it also serves as a hint towards the secret. Ever since the first mention of Alice in the film, Sarah has looked scared and guilty in equal measures. She had never told Mia about her missing sister before this. She is rather angry at her ex-husband, Pete, for having told his current partner, Denise, about Alice. It is almost obvious that Sarah had something to do with her sister’s disappearance.

While playing hide and seek when they were both around the age of seven or so, Sarah and Alice were alone inside a storehouse that existed on their property very close to their house. It can be guessed from what followed that Sarah was extremely jealous of her sister, to the point that she developed a strong dislike for her. It feels like Sarah felt a compulsive need to compete against her sister with regard to who got more love and attention from their parents. Therefore, this moment, in which she found herself alone with Alice inside the storehouse, felt like the best chance to do something that had increasingly found space in her mind. Sarah told Alice to hide inside the heavy wooden wardrobe that was kept in the corner of the storehouse, and then she bolted the furniture shut from the outside. Alice obviously started to suffocate and panic, calling out for help desperately. Possibly because Alice was making a lot of noise or maybe because she had a sudden realization about the horrific act she was about to commit, Sarah eventually unbolted the wardrobe and let Alice out.

Being a young girl with an understandably strong judgment of good and bad, Alice immediately lashed out at Sarah and started hitting her, angrily exclaiming about how she would have died. Sarah tried to save herself from the attacks, and she found a heavy metal tool lying nearby with which she planned to defend herself. Picking up the tool, Sarah started to hit Alice back with it, which gravely injured the sister. With her hands and face covered in deep cuts from the tool, Alice ran out of the storehouse, and Sarah followed her. It was possibly Alice’s intention to find their parents and complain about what her sister had just done, and Sarah’s pursuit of her seemed to be equally for stopping Alice from making such complaints and also for checking on her. When Alice finally stopped running and showed her face to Sarah, the latter was shocked to see that the girl was severely bleeding from the injuries and realized that a harsh punishment would come her way. Whether to avoid this punishment, or because of a genuine dislike that she had for Alice, or most possibly from a combination of both inside her confused young mind, Sarah pushed Alice off the cliff instantaneously.

Young Alice fell from a considerable height, most possibly into the water of a creek running by, and was never to be found again. Sarah told her parents that her sister had gone missing while playing, and despite everyone’s best efforts, no trace of the girl could ever be found. After trying to find Alice for a few years, the parents eventually gave up, and a memorial for the girl was also built near their house. The fact that Sarah was so close to her father till the very end of his life was perhaps due to the fact that losing one daughter made the man place all his love and attention on the one remaining daughter. The sinister killing of her sister definitely helped Sarah’s cause in that case. On the contrary, it could be that Sarah’s relationship with her mother was never good, and they were almost out of touch for many years, because of this very incident. Based on how Joan acts when mistaking Mia for Alice, it is evident that the woman was very close to her daughter, and her disappearance hurt him a lot. Unlike the father, Joan could never place all her affections and concerns on Sarah, essentially replacing Alice forever, and perhaps even had a feeling that Sarah had something to do with Alice’s disappearance. Either way, Joan never gave Sarah the attention and care that Sarah expected from both her parents after the loss of Alice, and so she grew distant from her mother.

‘Run Rabbit Run’ Ending Explained: Does Mia Really Go Away With Alice In The End?

The ending of Run Rabbit Run is intentionally kept open for debate to bring some charm to the film, but whether it is able to do so is a different question. The end is not necessarily dubious either, meaning that multiple possibilities are not really shown. Instead, it is the sheer impossibility of what we actually see that makes us question the ending. In the latter half of the film, Sarah and Mia move to Sarah’s old house, where she spent her childhood days, in order to give the young girl some time and information about the family she so desperately yearns to have. At the end of Run Rabbit Run, we are shown Sarah frantically waking up one morning after things had gotten spookier to look out of the window and see Mia being taken away from the house by Alice, who is still a young girl. As Alice takes Mia towards the very same cliff from where Sarah had thrown her off, both girls look back at Sarah for a moment before continuing on their walk toward death.

If we are to completely believe in what we see in this ending scene, then we have to believe in the supernatural, and that is one of the possibilities in the film. There are a number of scenes throughout Run Rabbit Run that show the presence of a young girl, clearly Alice, who goes around and creates most of the horror elements of the film. From this stance, the ending then means that Alice’s spirit had still been meandering even after her death, with a clear intention of seeking revenge against Sarah. Once Sarah’s daughter turned seven, the spirit gradually guided the family back toward their childhood home and eventually killed Mia in the same manner that Sarah had once killed Alice.

But such a possibility is not as entertaining as looking at the whole matter as a psychological horror film, in which it is Sarah who is gradually losing control over her life after being drowned by her own suppressed guilt. The event of the death of Sarah’s father works as a sort of trigger point, following which the woman cannot help but remember what she had done to her sister so many years ago. The rabbit that Mia finds and then lovingly keeps instantly seems to make a connection between Mia and Alice in Sarah’s mind. As she later reveals, Alice used to be very fond of animals, and she would always rescue animals around their house. This similar trait in Mia, as well as her strange and unexplainable love towards her grandmother Joan, whom she had never met before, perhaps made her similar to Alice in Sarah’s mind. There are definitely characteristics in Mia that can easily scare, and at times it even seems like the mental struggles of Joan have been passed on to both Sarah and Mia through their bloodline.

There are some scenes, like when Sarah intentionally bangs her car door on her own hand after accidentally doing so to Mia earlier, that can be tied in with the theory that the mother herself starts seeing her daughter as the living embodiment of her dead sister. Sarah perhaps injures herself in a similar manner, just like she would do to herself during her childhood days whenever Alice would get hurt. It seems like Sarah could never accept her sister receiving love and attention, and so whenever Alice would get hurt, she would injure herself in the same fashion so that her parents would give her attention as well, and not just to Alice. Similarly, now it seems like Sarah injures herself with the car door only to ensure that Mia does not get all the attention, even though there is no parental figure above them anymore. At the very end of Run Rabbit Run, we also see Sarah having drawn the sinister black patch over the floor of her house, and it is possible that perhaps she was the one ruining Mia’s drawings. If not, it could also be that it was all Mia’s doing, not because of any spirit possessing her but instead because of some understandable mental issues that often develop in young children. It is also to be noted in this regard that both Sarah and Mia are shown to be incredibly lonely people, with Mia not having any serious friendships at school either.

If we are to consider the whole matter a psychological struggle on Sarah’s part, then Run Rabbit Run ending possibly suggests the loss of Mia in Sarah’s mind, even though this loss is not any physical death. Mia does not actually go and jump off the cliff in all probability, but the fact that Sarah starts believing Mia to be Alice ensures that the natural bond between mother and daughter is most definitely lost. Therefore, inside Sarah’s troubled mind, Mia is Alice herself, and therefore Mia ceases to exist because Alice, too, does not exist. We see Sarah confess her act to little Mia at the end too, but this is not enough for her to fight off the engulfing guilt that finally takes her over.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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