How Run Sweetheart Run’s Menstruation Plotline Was ‘Cathartic’ And ‘Empowering’ For Ella Balinska

SPOILERS are ahead for Run Sweetheart Run, now streaming with an Amazon Prime subscription

Many women have a negative relationship with the normal biological process of menstruation. It certainly doesn’t help that the topic is rarely spoken about in public spaces and has an awkward air about it. So when a movie like Run Sweetheart Run has its protagonist on her period not only as a plotline, but as a key element to her survival, we have to give props to the filmmakers. This just doesn’t happen in movies. 

Earlier this year, we did see Pixar show feminine products and speak to female puberty in Turning Red, and now the latest Blumhouse horror movie is going there in its own way. When CinemaBlend spoke to the movie’s star, Ella Balinska, about this element of the film, here’s what she said about it: 

I would definitely say filming that as a woman, it's sensitive. It's strange because we're so not used to that being on display, it's normally such a taboo. And, this in particular, it was strangely cathartic because she's this character that is using that to save her life is something that she realizes she can use as a power to her advantage. And, I think for that to be portrayed in such a way that is in a way that is positive for the female experience, even though it starts off negative, but it ends up being positive, is something that is really empowering for me to have performed and for others to see.

Early in the film, Ella Balinska’s Cherie gets her period at an unfortunate time, right before her business meeting with Pilou Asbæk’s Ethan, a typical occuerance many women have dealt with. However, when she goes on the evening engagement, things take a turn. At first sparks fly between Ethan and Cherie and it becomes something of a date, but when she comes into his mansion, he attacks her and soon reveals himself to be a demonic vampire out for her blood. 

Run Sweetheart Run takes place throughout the night, where Cherie must find creative ways to survive Ethan before sunrise without placing her family in danger. One of those ways is later in the film when she throws off her scent by throwing a used tampon in the opposite direction of her. I know your first reaction because it was mine too to some degree: gross. However, there’s also something beautiful about Run Sweetheart Run owning a character being on her period as something she can actually use to her advantage to make sure she's not mauled by a vampire. 

The idea that something that is looked at with societal shame and awkwardness being a tool that can save Cherie is cathartic for women, and particularly so for its star. Ella Balinska found it “empowering” to play out the plotline on set and for audiences to now react to. 

Run Sweetheart Run also changes up the typical romantic vampire storyline, making its male vamp a seriously villainous monster rather than a complete heartthrob. The actor behind the antagonist shared with CinemaBlend that he wanted the audience to question if he is really that bad with his performance, and as we learn in the movie, he very much is. 

Halloween season may be over, but horror season doesn’t have to be. Check out what upcoming horror movies are on the way here on CinemaBlend. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.