Unsane Review

A satisfying and entertaining horror thrill ride.


"Unsane" is the brainchild of Steven Soderbergh and it will most likely be more remembered for how it was shot rather than the movie itself. Soderbergh's follow-up to the immensely entertaining "Logan Lucky" is a horror film shot entirely on an iPhone. Yes you read that correctly, am immensely talented filmmaker (some might even say a maestro) has swapped out his incredibly expensive and effective equipment for that metal rectangle that we all have in our pockets. You might be asking, does it work? Is it just a gimmick? Can shooting a feature film on an iPhone look somewhat passable? Well, I'm happy to report that while you can tell that it's shot on an iPhone it all works. The end result is a really entertaining and enjoyable thrill ride.

The film follows Sawyer (Claire Foy) as she deals with the aftermath of being stalked. As she tries to settle into her new life she keeps seeing visions of her stalker everywhere. Because of this she goes to a behavioral center to seek some help from a counselor. Things spiral out of control from there and I won't spoil it, but theres a few enjoyable twists to be had. But this taught and enjoyable story isn't the main attraction of the film. That would be it's star Claire Foy, who rather than play Sawyer as a helpless final girl she is a carefree, kickass, and incredibly clever. She isn't your ordinary horror protagonist who is prey for an unseen force or brutal killer. She is an interesting and layered character who won't take anything lying down. It was refreshing to see a character fight back constantly against the stupid shit that was happening to them. I loved watching Sawyer punch, scream, charm, and trick people in order to escape the torture/terror she is being subjugated to.

While all there are plenty of good things to talk about in this movie, I feel like I'd be doing you all a disservice if I didn't at least mention the cinematography. While it is shot well there really is no way to get past the fact that it does look like it was shot on an iPhone. There's not really a way to elevate the hardware to a point that it would look like an ARRI ALEXA (or everyone would do it). But there was one really cool thing that I noticed while watching it which is that because the phone is so small it can get incredibly close/get into places a normal film camera couldn't. It allowed for some cool shots that I really enjoyed seeing, but there was also a downside. The lighting in this movie can be really hit or miss, especially if there are bright lights (during a bar scene there is a glaringly obvious example of this).

But while the might take away from the film the other benefits couldn't be clearer. This was made for about $1 Million dollars and in less than a year. Soderbergh plans on making even more movies like this in a short period of time and I won't say no to more frequently entertaining films from a master director. If this is the start of a glorious age of Soderbergh iPhone movies that are lush with new ideas and interesting character for us to sink out like "Unsane" than I'll take it. [B]

Al Pacino Rating:

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