Unsane (2018)

I take pictures and videos with my iPhone all the time --it's simply more practical than a camera as I have it with me all the time, and the quality is great. So when months ago I read about Steven Soderbergh's Unsane, the director's first horror film which was shot entirely on an iPhone, I knew I had to watch it.

The film follows Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy), a young woman who, after admitting suicidal thoughts resulting from a stalking incident, is involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Things become even more frustrating for Sawyer when she sees her stalker, David Strine (Joshua Leonard), working as an orderly under the assumed name George Shaw.

The plot could have had so much potential, but unfortunately, the writers went the wrong direction, unfolding revealing too soon whether the stalker is actually working in the hospital or just the product of her delusion, and the plot goes from being interesting and gripping to clich├ęd and predictable real fast. Also, there are so many plot holes and factual errors that it's frustrating to the point that you pretty much lose any interest in watching the film.

The writers didn't only struggle with the plot, they had big issues with the characters as well. There are too many characters with no development whatsoever, most of which have no impact on the plot and those who have, have very little use in the plot. Not even the main character, Sawyer, is decently written. Furthermore, most of the things these people do and say feel quite unnatural.

Despite this, Claire Foy does a good job as Sawyer. Her performance is so raw and compelling that you really question whether she is sane or insane, even after it is revealed. Her character is quite unlikeable but there's something about her performance that makes you root for her. Also noteworthy is the performance from Joshua Leonard as the orderly/stalker. Juno Temple and Jay Pharoah provide a solid support respectively as Violet and Nate, two other patients.

Bleecker Street, Fingerprint Releasing, 20th Century Fox
Unfortunately, the acting is the only aspect that stands out in Unsane, a victim of lazy writing that doesn't work either as a thriller nor as a horror as there's no tension and nothing scary and frightening. Soderbergh's decision to film using his iPhone kind of pays off though as the cinematography is claustrophobic and the unique camera angles enhance the way the main character feels. Sure, technically-wise, this is not the best film of the year, but kudos to Soderbergh for showing that you don't need a lot of fancy equipment if you are young and inexperienced but interested in making movies.


  1. It's a shame this wasn't a better movie - I was absolutely dying to see if after catching the first trailer as I love a good mystery, but you're right - it all got revealed far too soon!

  2. I have this film in my watchlist from my local library but someone has already checked it out as I'm going to wait a little longer as I want to see this because it's Steven Soderbergh.

  3. I hate it...hate when they use I phones or cameras with jerky style movements etc... I find it distracting and irritating so I doubt I will see this flick

    1. I don't really care. Just like any other style, sometimes it's annoying and sometimes it works very well.