For the first ‘major’ release at UK Cinemas since the lockdown began this proves to be solid genre fare – with Oscar winner Russell Crowe’s psychotic villainous turn at the helm.
It’s the first film to take more than £100,000 at the country’s box-office in an opening weekend since that time (notching a still relatively meagre £175,000), and shows ‘baby steps’ in the right direction with cinemas slowly welcoming back film fans.
Unhinged largely relies on Crowe’s (Gladiator) title performance as a deranged ‘drugged up’ mad man, and while the script doesn’t get anywhere near complimenting the intriguing source material – there’s a good smattering of shocking moments to get cinema-goers back in the big-screen swing.
In this New Orleans-based psychological thriller, stressed soon-to-be-divorcee Rachel (Mortal Engines star Caren Pistorius) is running late for work when she crosses paths with Crowe’s lunatic stranger – known as The Man – during a ‘road rage’ altercation at traffic lights.
Unbeknown to her, the pill-addicted psycho has just murdered his ex-wife and new fling, and burned down their house, so when he dazes at a green light, the frustrated Rachel aggressively ‘honks’ her car horn at him.
At the next junction he rolls up beside her car, which also houses her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman from the Child’s Play remake), and asks her through the car window why she didn’t give him a ‘courtesy beep’ and asks her to apologise.
But when she refuses, he takes ‘extreme’ offence at the incident – which sends him into a temper that gets seriously out of hand.
What starts off as tailgating, stalking and theft of her phone, soon turns to him hurting people that she cares for as ‘The Man’ literally loses all touch with reality and becomes – as the title suggests – catastrophically unhinged.
He targets them with a clutch of deadly lessons to teach Rachel what it’s really like to have a bad day – which escalates into a terrifyingly deadly game of cat and mouse.
Sadly the film doesn’t capitalise on its pulpy ‘stresses of today’s world’ premise – flitting between hinting at something deeper with some shockingly over-the-top moments before eventually relying on a fairly generic finale. But Crowe’s perfectly maniacal performance is genuinely ‘looney tunes’ scary, as he sports a new ‘chunkier’ but still powerful physique. And Pistorius proves to be an able foil as the freaked out Mom.
So as the first shot across the bows as cinemas attempt to get back to normality – Unhinged definitely wouldn’t be the craziest thing to pick for your multiplex re-introduction.
ESP Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P Mckenzie & Lucy Faust
Running Time: 1 Hr 33 Mins
Director: Derrick Borte