Unsane is a 2018 American psychological horror film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer. The film stars Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Aimee Mullins, and Amy Irving, and follows a woman confined to a mental institution after she is pursued by a stalker. The film was shot entirely on the iPhone 7 Plus.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steven Soderbergh|
|Produced by||Joseph Malloch|
|Music by||David Wilder Savage|
(as Peter Andrews)
|Edited by||Steven Soderbergh|
(as Mary Ann Bernard)
|Box office||$14.3 million|
Unsane had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 21, 2018, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 23, 2018, by Bleecker Street and Soderbergh's production company Fingerprint Releasing.
Sawyer Valentini is a troubled woman who moves away from home to escape a stalker. Sawyer finds she is still triggered by interactions with men as a result of her experiences. She makes an appointment with a counselor at Highland Creek Behavioral Center. At her appointment, she unknowingly signs a consent form for voluntary 24-hour admission to a locked psychiatric hospital. She calls the police but they do nothing when they see the signed form. After physical altercations with a patient and a staff member, the staff psychiatrist says she is being kept for seven more days.
Another patient, Nate Hoffman, gives Sawyer an introduction to the place. Highland Creek is running a scheme to milk health insurance claims for profit. They trick people into voluntarily committing themselves as long as the patients' insurance companies continue to pay; when insurance claims run out, the patient is "cured". One day, Sawyer sees David Strine, her stalker, working as an orderly under the assumed name George Shaw. She has an outburst and is restrained. Her outbursts result in the repeated use of restraints and sedation.
Nate has a secret cell phone, and Sawyer uses it to call her mother, Angela, who attempts to get her out; Sawyer reveals to her mother for the first time about having been stalked, and explains that David is at the hospital. David intentionally gives Sawyer a large dose of methylphenidate, causing her to become violent and disoriented. That evening, he convinces Angela, who had never seen him before, that he is a hotel employee, and gains entrance to her room. Meanwhile, Sawyer confides in Nate about David, saying he was the son of a patient with Alzheimer's disease when she worked at a hospice job. After David's father died, he became obsessed with Sawyer.
David sees Sawyer and Nate together and feels threatened. He knocks Nate unconscious and takes him to the basement, where he tortures him with an ECT device before killing him with an overdose of fentanyl. When they find Nate's body, the staff conclude that Nate's overdose was a result of his drug addiction. Sawyer finds a phone under her pillow, with images of Nate badly beaten. She tries to alert the staff, but they put her in solitary confinement.
David visits Sawyer and says he has a secluded mountain cabin he wants to take Sawyer to. Sawyer mocks him for his obvious inexperience with women. David attempts to strangle her, but stops and leaves. David later returns and says Highland Creek administration believes Sawyer is gone, as he has changed information to make it appear that her insurance ran out. Elsewhere, outside the hospital, the body of the real George Shaw is found in the woods.
Looking for a way out, Sawyer feigns concern that David is a virgin, and that she does not want to be his first. She convinces David to have sex with another woman to prove that he will only want Sawyer after losing his virginity. Sawyer suggests Violet, another patient who previously threatened Sawyer with a shank, and he brings her to the solitary confinement cell. Sawyer uses Violet's shank to stab David in the neck and flees as he kills Violet. He recaptures Sawyer outside, and she wakes up in the trunk of his car next to Angela's corpse.
Sawyer escapes and flees into the woods with David in pursuit. Meanwhile, the news reveals that Nate was an undercover reporter sent to Highland Creek to investigate the rumors of people being committed against their will. David catches Sawyer and breaks her ankle, but Sawyer uses her mother's cross to stab David in the eye before cutting his throat.
The police discover Violet's body and Nate's notebook detailing the criminal activities within the hospital; they arrest the hospital administrator. Six months later while at lunch with a coworker, Sawyer thinks she sees David sitting in the restaurant. She approaches him armed with a knife, but upon realizing it is not him, runs away.
- Claire Foy as Sawyer Valentini
- Joshua Leonard as David Strine/George Shaw, Sawyer's stalker
- Jay Pharoah as Nate Hoffman, Sawyer's friend at the institution
- Juno Temple as Violet, a patient of the institution
- Gibson Frazier as Dr. Hawthorne, Sawyer's psychiatrist
- Aimee Mullins as Ashley Brighterhouse, head of the institution
- Amy Irving as Angela Valentini, Sawyer's mother
- Polly McKie as Nurse Boles, head nurse at the institution
- Zach Cherry as Denis, a new employee of the institution
- Sarah Stiles as Jill, a coworker of Sawyer's whom she dislikes
- Matt Damon as Detective Ferguson, a detective who advises Sawyer
- Raúl Castillo as Jacob
- Mike Mihm as Steve
- Robert Kelly as Steve's Partner
- Colin Woodell as Mark
In July 2017, it was announced Steven Soderbergh had shot a film in secret, in June 2017, starring Claire Foy and Juno Temple. The film was shot on an iPhone 7 Plus in 4K using the app FiLMiC Pro, and was released through Soderbergh's Fingerprint Releasing banner. In August 2017, Jay Pharoah confirmed that he was a co-star in the film.
Unsane has grossed $7.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $6.5 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $14.2 million.
In the United States and Canada, Unsane was released alongside Pacific Rim: Uprising, Midnight Sun, Sherlock Gnomes and Paul, Apostle of Christ, and was projected to gross $3 million from 2,023 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $3.7 million, finishing 11th at the box office. In its second weekend the film made $1.4 million, a 61.6% drop.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 80% based on 229 reviews, and an average rating of 6.71/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Unsane unleashes Steven Soderbergh's inner B-movie maestro, wading into timeless psychological thriller territory and giving it a high-tech filmmaking spin." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 63 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale. Richard Brody from The New Yorker wrote "Above all, [Soderbergh] revels, with palpable joy, in his repertory of distorted, disturbing, lurid yet lucid images, making a furious movie that signifies nothing but the irrepressible vitality of the cinema itself. Soderbergh's experiment is a success." Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Soderbergh is one of the most dexterous directors working in the American mainstream, and he has a sly talent for lacing even a seemingly disposable genre offering with smart, incisive ideas."
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