Unsane: Film Review 

I’m a huge fan of Claire Foy in The Crown so I was keen to see her do something completely different. In Unsane, a horror slash psychological thriller, we see a whole new side to her and her impressive performance sold the whole thing.

She stars as Sawyer Valentini who has recently relocated to a new city to start a new job after being the victim of a stalker. She throws herself into her new life and even tries the local dating scene but realises she’s not over her ordeal so she books an appointment with a therapist at Highland Creek Behavioral Center. During the session, she reveals she has suicidal thoughts and she signs some form without reading it properly, accidentally entering herself for voluntarily treatment which she cannot leave, initially for 24 hours, but this extends when she finds her stalker David (Joshua Leonard) in there with her.

This is basically your worst nightmare – being locked up against your will, and the more you insist on your innocence and that there has been some mistake, the less people believe you and think you’re crazy. Foy did a great job portraying this strong woman in a desperate situation and it was cool to see her put on a US accent and lash out physically because there wasn’t much else she could do.

Steven Soderbergh shot this on an iPhone and it works, adding a gritty realism and claustrophobic nature of the story. He gets right up in people’s make-up free, sweaty faces and this makes our connection to Sawyer stronger. Although we sometimes doubt if she’s mentally stable, we want her to prove her innocence and make people believe her. I had no issue with the low-budget style and think it suited the movie.

Horror fans will be disappointed by this so it is best to call this a thriller. There is a mounting tension and building sense of dread throughout, with it only really ramping up towards the end when it takes a very dark turn and becomes nuts, shocking and bloody/violent. I may have gasped a few times! It takes a while for any major thrills but the pay-off is worth it, although I’m not 100% sure about the ending. I was expecting there to be a huge, mind-blowing twist so felt a bit disappointed that there wasn’t.

Foy is supported by Leonard, who is suitably creepy, Juno Temple, a fellow patient with long cornrows, and Jay Pharoah as a patient uncover reporting on dodgy dealings in the facility. Pharoah was a good companion for Foy as his chilled vibe counteracted her shrillness and they had nice scenes together, but Temple felt a bit wasted.

I don’t think Unsane will appeal to everybody. It may try to grapple with too many ideas and the script isn’t the strongest but it is a gripping, atmospheric film and the cast really sell it. Foy is excellent, her character was strong, determined and feisty, and I was absolutely tense and on the edge of my seat towards the end. An effective thriller.

In cinemas Friday 23rd March 

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