‘You Can’t Run Forever’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Who Was Wade Bennett?


On one hand, you have an adorable couple waiting for the birth of their son, and on the other, you have a sociopath living by the phrase, ‘Does it even matter’—when these two worlds collide, a tragedy is bound to unfold. You Can’t Run Forever, directed by Michelle Schumacher and starring J.K. Simmons, is a thriller drama where survival is the key.

When a man does not seem to have a history, he appears to be all the more frightening, and that was exactly the problem with Wade Bennett. The police had no data on the sociopath, who was on a strange journey, killing people at random simply for the thrill of it. With every passing minute, more people fell victim to the sociopath, and to make matters worse, the new sheriff was yet to arrive. The deputy sheriffs, Dwyer and Morgan, were not confident about the mammoth task at hand, but given the situation, they had no choice but to lead the investigation.

Spoiler Alert

How did Miranda manage to throw Wade off her track?

Wade followed Miranda and Eddie from the public restroom. There was no particular reason why he was following them except that Miranda looked like his spouse. Eddie had parked his car by the side of the road to talk to Miranda, and he did not expect to see the guy from the restroom again. Wade pulled out his gun all of a sudden, and Eddie stepped on the gas to get away from the madman. The car hit the curb, and Eddie asked Miranda to run for her life. Wade shot Eddie and got hold of his phone. It was not just the killing that Wade enjoyed, he also took an interest in knowing his victims. He was clearly mentally unstable and lacked a moral compass. Wade touched himself while browsing through Eddie’s wife, Jenny’s, photographs. He even texted her, stating that he wanted a taste of the cupcakes she had baked. Meanwhile, Miranda ran for her life. She tried contacting Jenny, but the network was poor. She called the emergency helpline, but she was not in a position to have a proper conversation. No matter where she tried to escape, Wade always found her. Miranda suffered from panic attacks and anxiety, and the chase had taken a toll on her mental health. But every time her mind shut down, she tried to be more in touch with her reality.

By the time Jenny heard her daughter’s voicemail, the sheriff’s department had found Eddie’s body. They contacted Jenny and promised to search for her daughter. In a short span of time, Jenny found out about her husband’s death and that her daughter was being chased by a sociopath. In just a few hours, her almost perfect life was in complete disarray. She was scared for Miranda, and after going through the messages Eddie had sent, she realized that the last text was sent after his death. She assumed that the killer had Eddie’s phone, and she called him. She did not know what to expect, but she hoped that the man would leave her daughter alone. She tried to explain to Wade how life had been extremely difficult for Miranda, and she begged him to spare her. But Wade was not interested in the emotional stories, and he thought it would be all the more fun to get hold of the teenager. Meanwhile, Miranda overheard Wade and Jenny’s conversation, and she figured out that he had Eddie’s phone. She also realized that all this while, he had been able to chase her using the family tracker app. Miranda turned off her internet to throw Wade off her track, and she ended up spending the night at a safe corner in the woods. She had come across Todd that night, who had lost his family because of Wade. Todd was shot as well, and he spent his final moments in Miranda’s arms.

What happened to Miranda’s birth father?

Miranda had a tough time accepting her mother’s new relationship. She had lost her birth father a year ago, and she struggled to cope with his absence. It was not easy for Miranda to watch her mother move on and start a family with Eddie. Even though Eddie had been supportive of Miranda and he was madly in love with Jenny, it was all too new for Miranda. It was gradually revealed in You Can’t Run Forever that Miranda’s father died by suicide, and Miranda found his body. The experience continued to haunt her, and that resulted in panic attacks. She missed her father, and somewhere deep down, she was perhaps afraid of ending up alone. When she discussed her past with Todd, he commended her for her bravery in such a life-threatening situation. Even though Miranda skipped her pills, she managed to keep herself calm and cleverly navigated the situation. Miranda realized she was stronger than she thought she was. Maybe deep down, all Miranda wanted to hear from her father was that he loved her and that he too missed her.

After mistakenly munching on leftover shrooms she found in Todd’s mother’s backpack, she imagined her father speaking to her and expressing how he admired her. Miranda’s dream, or rather, heightened imagination, suggested that she blamed herself for Eddie’s death. She felt guilty for not staying back and helping him, even though she did not have much of a choice. Eddie and Miranda shared a sweet relationship, and she imagined that if Eddie could communicate with her, he would advise her to keep on running. Even though Miranda was drained after spending an entire day without any food and barely enough water, she found the strength to not give up. She climbed up on a tree and located the ranger station. Miranda ran with all her might, and she finally made it there. She was reunited with her stepsister, Emily, and they assumed that the worst part was over. 

Who was Wade Bennett?

Jenny conducted a brief internet search, and she figured out who the sociopath was. Jenny searched for Michael Watkias, who owned the bike that Wade was using. Through the searches, she came across Wade’s profile. As it turned out, the sociopath used to be a professor at Montana University. His last lecture was on survival strategy in business, where he discussed how important it was for one to continue moving and to remain unpredictable to keep their business going. He strongly believed in the theory, and his journey was simply a demonstration of it.

Wade was not a popular professor, and his students did not value his lectures, so one day he decided to not waste his time anymore and headed home. Upon reaching his house, he realized that his wife was having an affair. A bike was parked outside, and there were two glasses of champagne on the table and the clothes of his wife and the man scattered around the room. Wade did not have much of a plan, and he was going through their belongings when he suddenly came across a gun in the jacket that was lying on the chair. All of a sudden, he had the upper hand, and as the rule of survival goes, he had to act. He wanted to punish his wife, and an opportunity presented itself. Wade shot his wife and her lover, Michael Watkias, and left the house wearing the man’s jacket. When the neighbor complained about the noise, he shot her too.

We can only imagine that Wade was perhaps ignored all his life, and he might have often felt like a supporting character in his own life story, but with a gun in his hand, he felt invincible, and he decided to do whatever his heart desired. He knew that he would eventually be killed or arrested, but until then, he wanted to respond to his primal instincts. After killing his wife, her lover, and his neighbor, he knew he could not go back to living his life as usual—this was his chance to be the daring man he might have always dreamed of becoming but was too afraid to admit. That was how Madman Wade was born.

How did Jenny protect her family?

Wade failed to find Miranda, and his next best option was to knock at Jenny’s door. Finding her location was easy, and he knew that no one would expect him to be at the victim’s house. He tied up Jenny and made a call to Emily, pretending to be her nurse. He informed her that Jenny had gone into labor and was taken to the hospital, and all she had to do was head home and get the overnight bag. Naturally, the news of welcoming home their baby brother was exciting, and both Emily and Miranda returned home. They were shocked to see Wade waiting there. He had a gun, and while they assumed he would kill them immediately, he seemed to have some other plans. Wade asked them to join him at the dining table and sit together like a family. Perhaps this was one of Wade’s many unfulfilled dreams, and he seemed too invested in the idea of pretending to be a family. 

Miranda cleverly pulled open the zipper of her fanny pack and kept it ready. She later tried to instigate Wade when he confirmed that the only reason he followed her from the restroom was because she resembled his dead wife. Miranda was a lot more confident than she used to be, and she did not hesitate to pull the dagger from her bag and stab it in Wade’s palm. The family tried to run for help, but Wade was quick. He tried to overpower them, but unlike always, he did not have the gun on him. As he attempted to stab Miranda and Emily with the same dagger that they used to injure him, Jenny held him at gunpoint. She did not have the courage to pull the trigger the first time he handed her the gun, but this time she was undaunted. It was either killing him and saving her family or watching her daughters die; the choice was obvious.

In You Can’t Run Forever‘s ending, Wade did not think Jenny had it in her to shoot him, and even if she did, he couldn’t care less because, according to his life motto, he must put up a fight till the very end. To Wade’s surprise, Jenny shot him and rescued her daughters. Jenny, Miranda, and Emily’s bond had grown stronger than ever before. They had been through a terrible time, and even then, they managed to stick together. Emily had lost her father, and Miranda had lost her husband. The joy of giving birth came with the sadness of losing a precious member of their family. But then again, they all knew that Eddie would have wanted them to celebrate the moment and welcome baby Anthony with all their love.

Jenny’s water broke, and Miranda and Emily rushed to the hospital. She had her daughters to help her raise Anthony, and even though the pain of the loss would often haunt them, the joy of a new life was something to look forward to. In an unexpected way, a random stranger completely destroyed their lives. He might have done it out of sadistic pleasure or simply for the thrill of it, but his actions left a lifelong scar on his victims. You Can’t Run Forever ends on a somewhat positive note, with the family coming together to welcome the baby home.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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