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Unsane Review

by Jake Grosvenor, Editor-In-Chief

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Rating: 7/10

MPAA: R

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Claire Foy, Juno Temple, Joshua Leonard, and Jay Pharoah

Unsane hit theaters March 23rd and offered audiences a refreshing type of horror movie that strayed away from cash grab PG-13 movies and cheap jump scares that have littered the horror genre for years. Offering hardcore horror fans a true thriller that relies on atmosphere and good acting, Unsane is a unique movie that will please audiences with its eerie tone and strong characters.

While Unsane is a good movie, it has its flaws that take away from what could’ve been a modern day classic in the horror community; but too caught up in it’s one-of-a-kind filming style, only using an iPhone the whole movie, the film comes off as a well made college film project instead of a movie with a budget of $1.2 million.

Unsane stars Claire Foy playing Sawyer Valentini, Joshua Leonard as George Shaw/David Strine, and Jay Pharoah as Nate Hoffman; the characters they play are well written and have a depth to them that I haven’t seen in most modern horror movies with the exceptions of movies like IT and A Cure For Wellness.

Sawyer is a young girl who’s just moved to a new city with a brand new job after being the victim of stalking. She’s changed her email and her number and has left her terrible past behind, but as hard as she tries, she sees her stalker everywhere and it’s ruining her life. Sawyer has become a creature of habit with changing her lunch breaks, time she leaves for work, and when she comes home in fear of her stalker finding her 450 miles away from where he lives. Fed up she goes to a psychiatric ward where she unknowingly commits herself, after demanding to leave she is kept even longer bound by the papers she signed and the tricks they use to keep her in as long as her insurance pays. Soon after staying she sees her stalker working there and begins to fear for her life, but her pleas are ignored by staff as another excuse to leave.

The movie plays off the setting of a psychiatric ward, attempting to make viewers wonder if the man she’s seeing is really her stalker or just a product of her insanity.

This idea was novel, it offered audiences a showing that didn’t directly tell them what was happening. A lot like Scream 3, it was meant to make us wonder if who she was seeing was real or not and if she was in danger. Unfortunately, this idea fell short and it was pretty clear after about George’s third scene with her that what she was seeing was real; it offered no real other option than what she was seeing was real.

It seemed the director was hoping that just the idea that she was admitted for being insane would be enough to make you question the actions in the film, but even abandoning that aspect of questioning the credibility of what she’s seeing, the film’s action and plot was so littered with plot holes that suspension of disbelief seemed impossible.

We are supposed to believe that Sawyer has traveled hundreds of miles to a new city and accidentally committed herself and that there’s a chance her stalker has found her?

The issue with this, as opposed to any other stalking movie like Scream or Child’s Play, is we aren’t given an answer as to how he would even come to finding her, it’s mentioned he had been in the city watching her for a while now, but the way he gets a job in the clinic makes no sense. The movie asks you to completely forget common sense of everyone working and asking him, at any point in time, “You don’t look familiar, when did you start here?”

Despite this, the movie still gave off a very uncomfortable vibe and was truly thrilling and kept me entertained, but another issue is that the movie comes off as funny as the wrong time.

In one scene we see Sawyer with George/David and he asks her to prove his love in an odd way, and the noise he makes made me laugh out loud. I got looks in the theater until he made the same weird screech again and other snickered at the obscurity of the noise.

The movie is good, it’s hard to say that it wasn’t enjoyable, I enjoyed the plot it made me feel uneasy and it had a decent plot despite glaring issues. The fact that it was filmed on an iPhone was neat and made the movie’s overall tone a little more grunge which helped the atmosphere. It falls in between a B and triple-A movie; I’d recommend this movie to horror fans that are fed up with cash grabs like Insidious and want true horror, but don’t go in expecting a stellar movie that is groundbreaking.

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