Psychological horror films are usually the most interesting. Buckets of blood and gore aren’t what usually makes the genre memorable, it’s the atmosphere it generates. Viewers remember the tension they felt when seeing these, along with the characters. Adding psychology into the mix has a way of keeping audiences on their toes wondering if what they’re seeing is genuine. Steven Soderbergh directs ‘Unsane’ with this in mind. With his usual filmic flair, Soderbergh delivers thought-provoking thrills amidst the film’s gloomy corridors.

Sawyer (Claire Foy) is a troubled young woman desperate to get away from a stalker, David (Joshua Leonard). Arranging to see a counsellor, she inadvertently signs a form which sends her to a psychiatric hospital. Meeting another patient, Nate (Jay Pharaoh), she learns the hospital runs an insurance scam by tricking people into voluntarily entering the institution. Sawyer has more important things in mind when she sees her stalker at the hospital. How this is possible as well as escaping her hellish predicament finds Sawyer caught in an emotional quagmire.

Steven Soderbergh sure knows how to switch professional gears. ‘Unsane’ sees him go down the B Movie horror route after a string of dramas. It’s a fun ride whilst still maintaining his attention to detail and making his characters fascinating to watch. Whilst ‘Unsane’ has a few leaps of logic making it rather implausible, the added layer of the insurance scam sub-plot keeps it grounded. In some ways the scam seems far more horrifying than Sawyer’s stalker, so outrageous are its affects and intents.

‘Unsane’ was shot using IPhone technology which adds a sense of genuine claustrophobia. The film’s hazy look effectively mirrors Sawyer’s dazed mind, making scenes more atmospheric. Foy is the best of the ensemble cast as her heroine battles against the twin evils of her stalker and the crooked establishment.

Although Soderbergh does drama and action well, it’s refreshing seeing him handle the horror genre. Apart from a few ridiculous plot developments, he generally succeeds in making it an arresting experience. Hopefully he’ll make another as ‘Unsane’ shows how the treatment can sometimes be worse than the disease.

Rating out of 10: 7


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