Unsane


Viewed – 01 September 2018  online-rental

Didn’t Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Traffic) announce his retirements at one stage, or did I dream that?  Either way the man continues to deliver movies including this latest psychological thriller starring The Crown’s Clare Foy who plays Sawyer, a woman who has started a new job in a new city after running from a stalker.  However after an intended one night stand goes awry, she turns to a psychiatrist to tackle some of her demons.  Problem is she unwittingly signs herself into a psychiatric institute and is unable to leave for seven days.  Is she losing her mind and has her stalker returned?

unsane

Soderberg’s movie has an immediately unsettling aesthetic.  Filmed believe it or not entirely on an iPhone, and with claustrophobic, unconventional filming techniques that makes everything seem dream-like … it was easy for me to go along with the paranoia and hopelessness of Sawyer’s plight.  Once the hospital becomes the main location, the way the movie questions what is real and what might be in Sawyer’s head is very well done.  Foy is brilliant, damaged and vulnerable making her one of those actors that really becomes the character.  Support from genre icon Amy Irving (Carrie) was welcome if under-used and along with a creepy stalker this ticked all my boxes. 

I’d have liked the ‘is she imagining it?’ element explored a little more than it was as it kind of turns into a typical thriller in the final act … but along with plenty of atmosphere and a few genuine shocks, I really enjoyed this.

Verdict:  4 /5

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Horns


Viewed – 09 July 2016  Netflix

I know why it has taken so long for me to get around to watching this.  Firstly for the most part much of the movies on Netflix are either seen it or pretty lame, bargain bin fair that I quickly regret clicking on.  However starring Harry Potter himself Daniel Radcliffe in an against type role (does he really have a type though?) and with thoughts of his above average turn in Woman In Black … this has always been on my ‘to watch’ list.  The bizarre concept made me hesitant also.

Horns

Radcliffe stars as Iggy who we learn early on has been suspected of his long time girlfriend’s murder and whilst the cops try to build a case against him, he tries to prove his innocence.  One morning however he awakes to find a set of horns have sprouted devil-like from his head and suddenly the towns folks are confessing their deepest darkest secrets to him, whether he wants to hear them or not.

This rather unusual idea took a little bit of getting into but once I caught onto the somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone, I was thoroughly along for the ride.  It plays out like an extended Twilight Zone episode and certainly proves highly entertaining as we watch some outrageous behaviour from people drawn to Iggy as he gathers clues about the murder, interspersed with flashbacks that piece things together for the viewer at the same time.  It has a decidedly Stephen King vibe too, which is never a bad thing.  The whodunit may be a bit easy to guess, but with strong performances, especially from Radcliffe, some decent effects work, and stylish direction by Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) … I found this original, freaky and darkly funny which is often a great combination.  Recommended.

Verdict:  4 /5