Director Steven Soderbergh is back once again with another post-retirement film. This time around, the “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Lucky Logan” filmmaker is trying his hand at the horror genre. One of the most notable aspects of “Unsane” is that Soderbergh shot the entire movie on an iPhone 7, using the app FiLMiC Pro. The presentation that the iPhone delivers services the story set in a mental institution quite well. Unfortunately, as a psychological horror film, the there just isn’t much here I found terrifying.
Right off the bat, I must say that Claire Foy is easily the best thing in “Unsane”. She gives a fantastic turn as Sawyer Valentini, a woman plagued with paranoia and nightmares about a man who was stalking her. She moved away from Boston to start a new life. Sawyer keeps seeing her stalker, David (Joshua Leonard) almost everywhere she goes, including at her job. During a session with a psychologist, Sawyer unknowingly checked herself into a mental hospital and David just might be working in that very facility. Much like Sawyer, the audience is trying to figure out if David is actually-there, or if she is just plain nuts? One of the film’s problems is that that question is answered a bit too quickly.
Soderbergh shot “Unsane” in secret and had a very small number of people working on it. The closing credits were over within a matter of seconds. To be perfectly honest, if the director’s name was not attached, I couldn’t imagine “Unsane” getting a theatrical release, as it feels like the kind of film genre fans would rather stream at home that on the big screen. In less skilled hands, this could have been unwatchable, but thankfully due to the talent involved, “Unsane” is an average-at-best thriller dealing with subject matter that feels all-too timely.
By: Marc Ferman