Box art for Running Scared

Running Scared

  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure, drama, thrillers


Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

5 out of 5
5 out of 5
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5

Grim tale of revenge and fear. Not for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is absolutely not for kids. It's determinedly violent and disturbing. Characters include gangsters, drug dealers, junkies, an abusive stepfather, a prostitute and pimp, and a couple who kidnap children to film in pornographic situations: all are explicitly indicated, if not shown on screen; one scene has characters in a strip bar, where a dancer appears in a brief full frontal nudity shot. Murders and abuses are committed with a variety of weapons, including guns, knives, and hockey pucks; characters appear in various states of undress; language is excessive (over 300 uses of "f--k").

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the extreme violence here -- is it necessary? Is it here to make a point, or just to shock? They can also talk about the film's stereotyping of gangsters, bad cops, prostitutes, pimps: Though the movie exaggerates for sensational effect, how might stereotypes reinforce viewer prejudices and narrow-mindedness?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 27
    see all Running Scared reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: There's clearly supposed to be tension between Joey's good and bad sides. Sure, he's a mobster, but he's also a family man, which makes him... gray. (Not black and white = very sophisticated.)

- Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune, Friday, February 24, 2006

Fresh: The end result of all these cross-mob confrontations is an orgy of nihilistic violence that is curiously exhilarating, I am almost ashamed to say.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Wednesday, March 1, 2006


- Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix, Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Nobody makes movies like Running Scared any more. Five years ago, this film would've been toned down by whichever studio released it in order for it to receive the lowest certificate possible. Bravo, then, to writer/director Wayne Kramer for sticking to his guns and delivering one of the most uncompromising, memorable and downright brutal thrillers in recent memory. Joey (Paul Walker) is a small-time mobster hired to dispose of 'hot' guns for his bosses. One of these weapons (with particular value over all the others) falls into the hands of his son's best friend and is used to startling effect. Here is where the real fun starts. Joey can find neither the child nor the weapon in question, and he has only 18 hours before either the police, the Russian mafia or his own employers catch up with him. Walker is surprisingly impressive considering the strictly one-dimensional roles he played in movies such as The Fast And The Furious and Into The Blue. Here he plays Joey as someone well aware of his impending death should he fail, and throughout he is totally watchable and believable. No more will audiences giggle to themselves every time he delivers a dud of a line. The story occasionally flags, particularly in the middle of the film, but Kramer is not afraid to play with the camera-work to keep the audience's attention - whip-pans, CSI-style extreme close-ups, super slow-motion, sepia filters and colour bleaching are all used to give the film a gritty and somewhat unique look - take, for instance, the kitchen shooting about half an hour into the film, played from multiple viewpoints in both forward and reverse. The film's charcoal-dark tone may be too relentless for some viewers, and the pedophilia subplot could be considered as taking things one step too far, but as long as you've got a strong stomach and can face hearing lashings of creative swearing, there's a lot of enjoyment to be found here. Unbearably tense, visually inventive and superbly acted from start to finish, Running Scared is the first real surprise of 2006 - it pulls no punches and thrills from its excessively bloody opening to its foul-mouthed conclusion.

- matertenebraum, Thursday, April 8, 2010

1 star

Wayne Kramer's Running Scared is a mess of a crime thriller.The concept for the film is an interesting one, but the execution is where it all comes apart. The story pans out in a little under 1 days time and this can be a nice touch for people that enjoy this type of time frame in a movie. For the most part, a lot does happen in this picture and a bunch of it is violent nonsense. Some of the material also feels unnecessary, as if it is there to fill up 2 hours of screen time for a bunch of uninteresting characters.The editing is a bit erratic. Some if it works; most of it doesn't. The same goes for the multiple rewind and flashback type scenarios. If anything, it just livens up the movie.The violence and profanity is extremely high. The swearing, at times, seem natural, since it is hard to picture all of it being part of an actual script. It can and does get annoying though.There isn't much to the acting. Paul Walker is OK, but nobody is close to winning any awards in here.Running Scared is a film that can satiate a person's violent needs, but that is about it. There is nothing else to say, except to run away from Running Scared.

- skactopus, Saturday, December 12, 2009

3 stars

Two 10-year-old boys get their hands on a mob gun with which a cop was shot. The father of one of the boys must take to the streets in a desperate bid to recover the weapon before the mob finds out it's missing. Action from start to finish. Liked the twist at the end. Got a lot of mixed recommendations on this movie. I ended up liking it. Thought Paul Walker was great. Really surprised how good Cameron Bright was. Good watch.

- LWOODS04, Wednesday, December 9, 2009