Filming with an iPhone 7 is insane, but ‘Unsane’ is a decent psychological thriller (Movie review)

When I first heard about “Unsane,” the only thing I knew was that it was a Steven Soderbergh movie filmed using only an iPhone 7. I didn’t hear anything about the movie itself, so I assumed it was crap and a bit of a novelty.

I wasn’t entirely wrong, but I wasn’t right either.

“Unsane” is about a woman named Sawyer (Claire Foy) who, after moving to a new town to get away from a stalker, accidentally allows herself to be committed to a mental institution. As the days go by with Sawyer trying to free herself, she begins to appear more and more crazy … and in turn, she starts to wonder if she is in fact crazy. When things can’t get any worse, she finds out that her stalker now has a job in the hospital and is still terrorizing her. Or maybe she is seeing things? Maybe she really is crazy?

“Unsane” is an above average thriller, but the fact that it was filmed only using an iPhone makes it feel dated, as it has an almost camcorder look. I see no benefit to filming it this way except to say it was “filmed only using an iPhone.”

Yet it still somehow had a $1.5 million budget so they must have used standard editing and sound mixing practices. Maybe Soderbergh knew this was a middle-of-the-road film that would never be great so he decided to experiment? I don’t know, but the film’s yellowish color and slight blur do it no favors as it feels like a low-budget indie film.

With that being said, I do consider it slightly above average. The second half ratchets up the mystery and gives us a solid conclusion to what is really going on. (I expected some half-assed conclusion where we aren’t told what’s real and what isn’t). I never lost interest, and was interested to see how it played out.

I read a few other reviews about “Unsane,” and many people seem to have an issue with a movie about mental health. They either did not watch the film, or they are a product of today’s ultra-PC society. I had no issue with the subject matter. With “Unsane” now streaming on Amazon Prime, I actually am going to recommend this film if you like movies with a twist.

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