Claire Foy (Netflix's The Crown) is involuntarily committed to a mental institution in this Steven Soderbergh horror shot entirely on a cellphone. Once committed, she is confronted by her greatest fear - but is it real or is it a product of her delusion?

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Flicks Review

A stripped back and thoroughly interesting indie horror, Steven Soderbergh's latest is enjoyable despite falling apart. It's all shot on iPhones using harsh, unflattering lighting and in 1.56 aspect ratio - just some of the odd elements that make this one of the strangest films I've seen in a while. The terrifying glimpses at mental illness and even more terrifying portrayal of a US mental health facility are brilliant, but the third act drops the ball.... More

Claire Foy drives Unsane in the lead role, helped by some intriguing support characters. Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer's script maintains a nicely unnerving is-she-sane-or-not mystery throughout, but watching the trailer or reading other reviews will probably spoil some of that fun. It's not very original, but Soderbergh brings a freshness to it and throws so much weirdness upon it that it certainly feels different.

The corrupt mental health institution Unsane is set in and the awful, realistic hopelessness it inspires is chillingly effective. I really felt trapped in there with the patients, in a similar way as was achieved in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But the further through the story it gets, the sillier it becomes and the more difficult it is to take it seriously.

The final segment of the film is where it all starts seeming a bit shit. What's real and what's not becomes clear, plot holes emerge as much of the intrigue and fun subsides. The very end gets so schlocky in a '70s B-movie way I kind of came back around to being endeared by it, but Unsane is far from great, despite some bearing some greatness.Hide

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The Press Reviews

  • The hack screenplay by Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer gives the game away far too early, squandering the main thing the movie has going for it. Full Review

  • It's rough, to say the least, and that's not just a matter of hasty visuals: the whole thing feels provisional and half-hearted, like a scrunched-up charcoal sketch. Full Review

  • The film has a ragbag of themes including stalking, mental illness and the private medical insurance racket; these competing ideas cancel each other out and aren't scary. Full Review

  • We're in schlock corridor here and Soderbergh runs with it, cellphone in hand; under the buzzing suspense mechanics, however, a cautionary note on the perils of disbelieving women is just audible. Full Review

  • Made on a budget of only $1.2 million, it is technologically startling, classically composed, with rich still frames, wide shots and close-ups, more formally precise than many big-budget studio efforts. Full Review

  • Returning to the knowing twistiness of his 2012 thriller Side Effects, Soderbergh makes Unsane work teasingly, until things edge too far into the realms of the Gothicly lurid to be remotely plausible. Full Review

  • ... Steven Soderbergh's genre movie, filmed using the camera on a fruity smartphone, which after a promising beginning is too demented for its own good. Full Review

  • Opens with a bloody big bang, it finishes with a sad fizzle and – though enjoyable – leaves you with a tiny twinge of disappointment. Full Review