Often there are films that leave you uncertain if you enjoyed or not. Unsane is exactly that film. There’s just something about it that makes it feel like it could be one of the best psychological horror films you’ve ever seen or something completely unworthy of your time. The story line is frighteningly too close to the truth. The performances take you through this really complicated journey to survive. The technical side of Unsane is worthy of awards being filmed entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus. But there’s just something that can’t be explained and it’s that something that leaves you pondering if you enjoyed it or not.
Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) was going about her business when the son of an old man she would read to, David Strine built an infatuation with her. Getting out of control Sawyer took matters into her own hands and ended up moving to another city to start a fresh lifestyle. Not telling anyone the real reason for her motives, Sawyer was for the most part isolated. After such a traumatic event Sawyer started to see David everywhere not expecting he actually followed her to this new city. Thinking it was all in her head she sought out help from a local hospital. Feeling like she was making progress Sawyer had unwillingly committed herself to a mental asylum for observation.
Struggling to convince anyone she was fine, including the police, she manages to get herself into a spot of bother when she can’t differentiate if she is seeing David or if he’s only in her mind. Eventually she realises David had made his way into the asylum and managed to have her locked away in solitary confinement. This is where the film takes a dark turn and flips the momentum to a whole new level, albeit rather confronting.
Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, 12 and 13, The Informant, Magic Mike) directs Unsane, in what is a really unique way of telling the story. The entire film feels like you are a fly on the wall. The camera angles and lenses make it feel like you are literally a hidden camera. He uses a lot of shots from far away to give it a feeling the characters are being watched. All these little things make for a very unsettling experience.
Claire Foy (The Crown, The Lady In The Van, Breathe) leads the way as Sawyer Valentini. Foy manages to play this slightly unhinged yet in control woman navigating her way through a traumatic experience. While it’s hard not to see her as the Queen and at times hear the Queen talking, Foy’s range as an actress is quite remarkable. Flowing through anger to complete insanity to placid and flirting while all the time appearing natural is something to behold.
In a time where technology is fast outdoing the human mind it’s no shock that Unsane was filmed on an iPhone 7 Plus. And you’d be none the wiser as each shot is vibrant and clear. What this does for the film is it brings you closer to the characters in a way that a standard camera would never allow. It also allows for these really unique positions of the camera giving the entire film a really different feel to a normal psychological horror.
Overall Unsane will toy with you, confuse you and most definitely creep you out. If you can move past hearing the Queen talk every now and then you’ll be completely mesmerised by Claire Foy as Sawyer. But where you’ll come unstuck is in digesting all the horrible things that came from this one disturbed individual, David. Not only will you be shocked by what you just watched, you’ll also get to the end and have to take a deep breath. And maybe look over your shoulder more often.
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