While its message is spooned on a bit thick, this brisk, biting horror pic with notes of comedy offers many nifty, prickly shocks and surprises, despite some plot shortcuts. Director/co-writer Shana Feste, making her first foray into horror, sets up Run Sweetheart Run with an effective montage of conventionally attractive secretaries emptily serving their male bosses. Indeed, even the title "sweetheart" is a condescending term rather than an affectionate one. But we have hope for Cherie (Balinska gives the role her all). We root for her happiness. That's perhaps why the first big story turn, when her date goes bad, is all the more shocking. Feste chooses to show viewers only a door with an unholy ruckus going on behind it; the sequence ends with a disheveled Cherie bursting through it, and a single word pops up onscreen, in all caps: RUN!
A second twist, which is better left unsaid, is even more bizarre and shocking, although Feste once again uses the technique of looking away from the horror and giving us only the sounds of it, plus the look on Cherie's terrified face. Overall, Run Sweetheart Run does a wonderful job with its chase, Cherie doing her best to stay a couple jumps ahead and then having to outwit her foe when he unexpectedly turns up. It's a pity, then, when the movie takes shortcuts, like Cherie being rescued by a random character who had, moments before, been introduced as a threat. Perhaps most disappointing is the First Lady character (played by Shohreh Aghdashloo), who serves as a pretty typical deus ex machina. Perhaps if this section had been played more for comedy, it could have worked, but by this time, the movie's main focus is its message. Nonetheless, Run Sweetheart Run still crosses the finish line in a mostly satisfying way.