Is ‘Run Hide Fight’ Based on a True Story? Setting Explained

Run Hide Fight 2020

Movies about school shootings always hit too close to home for many viewers, and Kyle Rankin’s ‘Run Hide Fight’ is no exception. Its release coincided with a string of deadly mass shootings in the US, causing mixed reactions as some viewers felt it exploited the tragedy. The topic’s sensitivity has resulted in lots of negative publicity around the movie, with many viewers wondering whether ‘Run Hide Fight’ is based on a true story.

Despite having lots of similarities to many school shootings, Run Hide Fight is not based on a true story. The director, Kyle Rankin, said in an interview that he had the idea of the movie years before the 2018 Parkland School Shooting, which many reviews associated with the movie. However, some aspects of the movie were still inspired by real-life events.

The controversy surrounding scenes of animal cruelty in the movie, being distributed by a right-wing network, and legal issues affecting one of the directors further ruined the movie’s reputation. There is still a lot more to the movie than divisive political subjects, so let’s look at its premise.

What happens in Run Hide Fight?

Run Hide Fight Zoe

The movie follows 17-year-old Zoe Hull (Isabel May), who hasn’t recovered from losing her mother and now has a strained relationship with her father (Thomas Jane). On the day of the school shooting, while on her way to school, Zoe notices random fires and other emergency incidents around towns that overwhelm first responders.

At school, she has a strained relationship with her classmates and even turns down a prom invite from her best friend. While in the toilet cleaning a coffee spill, a van crashes into the school fence, and four armed people get out and start shooting randomly.

Zoe crawls through the ceiling and manages to get out of the school, but instead of running to safety, she chooses to go back inside and alert other students and staff who have no idea what is happening.

Back in the school, Zoe’s classmate Tristan leads the gang of four shooters as they force their way past the front desk and kill the principal. The shooters then storm the classrooms and start rounding up students, killing many.


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The shooters also stream the killings on the school’s Facebook page and threaten to kill all the students if the government or the tech companies take down their livestreams.

Zoe swings into action, causing distractions to attract the shooters away from students and leading as many as she can to safety. She then takes on the shooters by herself while communicating with the Sheriff on the phone about the events inside the school and how to approach the situation.

Zoe utilizes the hunting skills she learned from her father to trick and neutralize most of the shooters, saving most of the students and staff. However, she gets mistakenly arrested when the police finally break in while the ring leader, Tristan, fakes his death in an explosion and tries to escape.

Zoe eventually catches up with Tristan and kills him sniper-style, utilizing her father’s training during hunting to make a perfect headshot. The movie then ends on a light note as Zoe and her father embrace while the authorities deal with the aftermath of the shooting.

What is Run Hide Fight based on?

Kyle Rankin said in an interview that ‘Run Hide Fight’ was inspired by the death of his fellow filmmaker, Shayne Worcester, who was shot during a mugging in 1999. He said the event was later discovered to have been part of a gang initiation, just like Tristan and his gang in the movie.

While the movie seems to be loosely based on a school shooting, Rankin insists that he doesn’t retell the story of any particular mass shooting in the movie. He said he had the idea for the movie long before writing it in 2017 and that his main character, Zoe, is meant to address the untold stories of people who fight back during such attacks.

There have actually been several school shooting films that follow the shooters. And I never understood, why is it better to follow the shooters, and that’s not exploitive, but if you follow someone trying to fight back, somehow it is?

Rankin said while also hitting back at claims that his movie was exploiting school shootings.


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Isabel May’s performance was the saving grace for the film as her passion and intensity brought more life to it. Rankin said May brought him to tears in the auditions. However, the character is not based on any particular real-life mass-shooting hero.

His decision to include a livestream was inspired by another murder that happened live on Facebook. While the murder wasn’t a school shooting, the directors decided to incorporate the idea into the movie.

His choice of villain in Tristan has also been criticized for sounding like The Joker, although Rankin hasn’t mentioned the supervillain as his inspiration for the character. He said Eli Brown, who plays the role, nailed it in auditions.

The filming took place at an abandoned school in Red Oak, Texas, where most of Rankin’s cast and crew were based. Unfortunately, events surrounding the movie’s release eventually overshadowed Rankin’s acclaimed good intentions, leading to a largely negative reception.

Why is Run Hide Fight controversial?

Run Hide Fight movie

The film’s controversy started when its first shots included a scene of the killing of a real-life deer by a hunter. Animal rights activists heavily criticized the slaughter, although it wasn’t deemed to violate any filming rules by the authorities.

The film was then accused of exploiting school shootings because it was announced in the wake of the Parkland school shooting in 2018. Many mass shootings also happened shortly after its release in 2020. However, Rankin said the team never planned to exploit the tragedy.

Furthermore, the film is distributed by The Daily Wire, a right-wing network operated by the controversial political analyst Ben Shapiro. Shapiro has been previously condemned for using derogatory comments about the LGBTQ community and for supporting some extreme right-wing ideologies.

The controversial director Adam Donaghey who was arrested for the sexual assault of a minor in 2020, also worked on the movie. Donaghey was previously accused of covering up incidents of sexual abuse on his sets. However, his name was later removed from the movie credits.

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