Shot entirely on an iPhone, the film sees a woman, played by Claire Foy, committed to a mental hospital against her will.
There’s a fun, emerging subgenre of horror that should feel particularly resonant for anyone who’s ever clicked “accept” on a long, incomprehensible set of terms and conditions, or signed a petition without really reading it. Let’s call it the “Don’t sign the contract!” film. Last year, there was A Cure for Wellness, where Dane DeHaan ended up taking a bath with some eels at a Swiss sanatorium after putting his John Hancock on a hefty stack of paperwork. This year, there’s Unsane, Steven Soderbergh’s queasy new thriller, where Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) tries to join a support group and instead finds herself trapped in a mental hospital.
The asylum is a classic location for scary movies, of course, but Unsane is more than a haunted-hospital tale. For one, it’s a warped parable about the evils of private health insurance, in which the scam that sucks in Sawyer seems to exist only to bleed her HMO dry. It’s also a chilling tale of toxic masculinity, in which a “nice guy” convinced of his own importance is the chief villain. Beyond that, though, Unsane is a great worst-nightmare movie from Soderbergh, a tense piece of low-budget auteurship that plops the viewer into an absurd scenario and then ratchets up the tension for the next 90 minutes.