I won’t lie; despite having his name attached to some popular and critically acclaimed films, the only Steven Soderbergh movie I’ve seen is Behind the Candelabra. So I can’t speak to the “goodness” of his films overall, but Unsane may have convinced me to see more of them. I had to go thirty miles to the nearest theater showing it, and I went to the earliest show, 10am. I have never regretted getting up early less in my life. Trigger warning: this film is about intense psychological trauma around stalkers and stalking. Proceed with caution.
Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) left Boston and her loving mother (Amy Irving) to escape her stalker, David Strine (Joshua Leonard). But despite moving almost five hundred miles away, blocking his number, and trying to start over, she sees his face everywhere she goes. An online date that would have been a one night stand ends in a panic attack.
So she searches for a support group, and finds a counselor at a mental hospital… who proceeds to trick Sawyer into signing in for a 24-hour voluntary committal. That night, seeing her stalker’s face in the arrival of an orderly, she attacks him, and is forced into an involuntary seven day stay. The next night, she comes face to face with her real stalker… or is it a just a new orderly who happens to look like him?
From what I’ve read, this film was apparently shot in an iPhone camera. It does have a found footage feel, atmospherically dark to match the darkness of the content, but unless you’re a big stickler for shaking cameras and found footage, you get past it as you get drawn in. A handful of jump-scares and some blood, most of the thrills in Unsane are psychological, and they pay off in a big way.