Disclaimer: This review is only possible because I went to the cinema to see the film. I am in a position where my country has a low rate of transmission of COVID-19 and I, alongside my household, are not in the high-risk category. I made a personal choice to attend the cinema, and I am pleased with how my cinema chain has handled social distancing and spot checks throughout the entire film. I am in a position to go to a cinema, but that does not mean everyone else is. If you do not feel safe to go to the cinema, then don’t. No film is worth your health, especially if you are in an area or country with a high rate of transmission. If you or a household member is of high-risk from the virus, I would not recommend risking the trip. If you feel that your cinema is not taking the right procedures in social distancing or wearing masks, I would recommend not giving them your support and staying away. Just because films are being released and cinemas are starting to re-open does not mean the virus has gone away. If you choose to go to the cinema this weekend or any time soon, enjoy yourself! It’s great that the film industry is finally able to make back some money and give us some much-needed entertainment. I also encourage you, however, to be respectful of those around you. The staff at these chains are potentially risking their lives daily to provide you with entertainment, so be respectful to them. Make sure to also respect other film fans who will be turning up, wearing your mask, and sticking to the social distancing guidelines in your local area. Stay safe and put your health before any film, even if it means you are not ready to go to the cinema yet.
Unhinged (2020) is a horror thriller directed by Derrick Borte. The film stars Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius, with the screenplay written by Carl Ellsworth. After an awkward encounter at an intersection, Rachel (Pistorius) finds herself being followed by psychopath Tom (Crowe), who plans to ruin evrey aspect of her life in a day.
Russell Crowe does a fantastic job in this role, playing someone so psychotic and past the ability for help. There is no sympathy for his character, he is past the point of caring and we learn that from the very first moments of the film. It is not only how he is written though, but even the presence of Crowe that give off this impression. Even when he is not doing anything, his eyes say exactly the same thing. The actions and devastation he caused seem extreme, yet he helps sell the idea in being a possibility despite how far he goes and how much trauma he causes.
When I walked in to see this film, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t even aware that this was a thriller, so I was there to let the film take me on a crazy ride. I found the story to be engaging, and a nice concept for a film of this style. Usually, films of this nature have the same beats and are predictable and with a lack of heart, and yet I didn’t get that from Unhinged. Unlike most films like this, I found myself caring about the protagonist and her safety, because she was not written as dumb but as a real human. It is refreshing to see horror thrillers still take the time to write their characters and not have them be fooled into every horror cliche.
There is a nice trend happening in Hollywood with small horror films taking bigger risks, and I love how bold this one was. The film didn’t shy away from graphic imagery and committing to real horror, leaving the audience shocked with what they were seeing. From thrilling car chase sequences to brutal murders that happen on camera, this film is filled with way more than your standard jump scares and not relying on the supernatural to fill the air with suspense.
The reason all of the horror lands so well is due to the cinematography and editing. This film is a concise 98 minutes long, which feels perfect for a story as concise as this. The cinematography is bold, opting to show everything on screen as brutally as it can. The quick editing and focused approach to every scare, even lingering on certain moments (particularly one that involves fire), shows the confidence that the film has in the story and the stunts that they do to pull this off. It works really effectively here, especially mixed with all of the other technical elements.
With a film like this though, I wish I could have gotten more meat on the bones with the characters. This film presents such a brutal character in Russell Crowe’s Tom Cooper that I want to learn about his twisted path and why he is the man he is in the film. Whilst we get a small look at his history through a news presentation, it is never brought back up or expanded on. One nice touch, however, is how he is constantly taking medication throughout the film, which suggests how much suffering he is actually going through. If you want to give him a twisted and dark background, it would have been nice to have even more. No matter how horrible his past was, it would have never excused him of his actions in this film anyway.
There is one major issue that I had with this film, and that is how the police handle the situation going on throughout the film. For someone so psychotic and insane, he gets away for a majority of the film having caused so much pain and chaos. He manages to walk away from a scene after murdering innocent citizens and even with the police aware of what he looks like and how to track his car, the police feel useless in this entire film. This is one of the only things that made me feel somewhat disconnected to the film, as I do not think a police team would have handled this situation as badly in real life as they did in this film.
Considering the mixed reviews I saw around before I went for my own viewing, I am surprised with how much I ended up enjoying Unhinged. This film is brutal, dark and unapologetic. From the very first moment, you know what you are getting yourself into and yet it gets more insane by the minute. This is a recommend for me.
Have you had a chance to check out Unhinged yet? What did you make of the film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and let’s have a discussion.