“Unsane” Review

Robert Strang, Reporter

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“Unsane” is a horror thriller about Sawyer Valentini’s attempts to evade her stalker. Sawyer relocates from Boston, Massachusetts in an effort to escape her stalker. Sawyer begins to notice that her stalker has followed her to the new city, showing up at her work place, and even inside of her home. Sawyer situation quickly escalates as she visits Highland Creek Behavioral Center. Sawyer is quickly admitted to a mental institution due to accidentally signing release forms. From there chaos ensues.

“Unsane” is packed to the brim with unique, careful camera angles. The film quality is quite impressive being entirely shot on just iPhone. Many of the angles used throughout the film are intended to give the perspective of Sawyer’s stalker. The decision to use this approach was quite smart and stood out as some of the best parts of the movie. Jay Pharoah steals the show in the film, he brings his experience and skill in to every scene he is in. Joshua Leonard also provides a excellent performance as the stalker. He adds the perfect amount of creepiness and calmness to add depth to all of his scenes.  

However, the compliments end there. Right out of the gate, I could tell that the movie was made by an independent filmmaker. The majority of the film is poorly written, so poor that it feels like they had a grade-schooler help write. There are multiple points throughout where the dialogue feels awkward and forced. The only real highlights of the movie are in the interactions between Sawyer and her stalker, with one scene towards the end being the gold crown of the film.

Even though the director chose to use some interesting camera work, the majority of the film feels forced and stiff. Most of the sets are underlit, and improperly costumed. There are numerous times where the scene contains tons of empty space. A great example of this is during the exchange between Sawyer and her boss. That too is a scene filled with stale and underwritten dialogue.

As the movie dragged on, the dialogue and cinematography got worse. There was a point near the end of the movie where I almost walked out. The plot of the movie is riddled with gigantic holes. It is almost like they didn’t try to smooth everything out.

All in all, this film was a hot mess. The film could have been something, if they took a bit more time fleshing out the story and perfecting the cinematography. I give it a 4/10. If you are looking for a movie to go to this weekend, please don’t choose this one.