Whether shot on an iPhone or just screened on one, Unsane effortlessly flexes Soderbergh’s skill as a storyteller and a technician, injecting the atmosphere and mechanics of a creepy scenario with a substance that deepens and elevates it to the stuff of a harrowing, intimate reality.
Most of the thrills here come from watching one of our canniest directors perform rattling wheelchair dollies on a waxed hospital floor while over-punctuating video-noisy close-ups and cheesy music cues.
Unsane isn’t easily dismissible, especially if you think of it as just one fragment of the wild terrazzo of Soderbergh’s career, which includes jaggedly brilliant genre classics like "The Limey" and offbeat crowd-pleasers like "Magic Mike." The movie is worth seeing for its craftsmanship alone.
A straightforward, B-movie horror flick — “The Snake Pit” without the prestige — complete with intentional overdosing, electroshock torture and patients threatening each other with a sharpened spoons, when they’re not either screaming or catatonic. It also is very, very bad.
I was totally surprised at how great this film was even though I consider myself a Soderbergh fan and have enjoyed many of his films. You could feel your paranoia rise as the film went on and as you gradually learned the details of the real situation. This kind of film is much scarier than a “traditional” horror film. Claire Foy was wonderful – actually the whole cast was great and completely believable. My paranoia lasted for at least 15 minutes after the film was over.
It's complicated... I really like the directing, acting and writing but, there are issues with the way it's shot that I just can't deny. As much as I love the storytelling and Claire Foy's fantastic performance but, there are also certain scenes that didn't need to exist. The cinematography was great at times and times were it wasn't done really well.
I was very interested to see Unsane primarily because of how it was made. Steven Soderbergh used a few iPhone 7s with Moment lenses and a film app. He still used professional audio capture, but for the most part this was going to be an example of something that regular people could get pretty close to on their own. Unfortunately, it came out looking just a bit better than a student produced film.
Everything about Unsane is fairly average. Average story, average writing, and average cinematography at best. Claire Foy is great as the lead, but some of the other performances are a bit questionable. I did find myself at least interested in the movie and not having a bad time, but I didn't come out of the theater blown away in any way, shape, or form.
This cheap intentionally low grade thriller makes a key mistake in trying to be too much in scope plot wise than its downright amateur aesthetic allows for, which is a surprising rookie mistake for veteran acclaimed director Soderbergh. That it was all shot on the iPhone is as much a gimmick as the hoax of passé 70mm is in the age of IMAX except to the other end of the spectrum, but when it comes to theatrical movies it's still nearly always preferable when paying about the same ticket price to get higher production value than less given the same level of story craft (and visually this thing is not even worthy of television exhibition).