Basically, to be unhinged applies the meaning that one is mentally unbalanced. As Mother of Movies has grown older, I am aware that anyone could lose their mental facilities either momentarily or forever. Normal people push these feelings down with wine. Some with exercise, I suppose. In day to day dealings, random acts of violence are commonplace. Crossing paths with some random on the edge of their tipping point is a matter of chance. As far as Unhinged being a believable scenario, this movie is certainly a supercharged version of the worst-case scenario.
The aggressive action and thriller revenge movie begin with our antagonist Man, later known as Tom Cooper. He is shown beating some people off-screen inside their home. Then we watch from afar as he pours petrol inside the house and is seen driving away, the home ablaze behind him in his rear vision mirror. One can only wonder what they did to call such almighty retribution to their doorstep. Knowing how this film progresses, however, in all likelihood, they probably took the last two rolls of loo paper at the local supermarket as he reached for one.
Writer Carl Ellsworth is a legend for capturing these types of scenarios well. He previously penned The Last House on the Left, Disturbia, and Red Dawn. In addition, the violence escalates over the course of the 90-minute run time and mainstream audiences won’t like what they see. Those who are familiar with his work will be expecting nothing less.
The traffic incident where everything begins has the ability to instantly split an audience into two camps. Only knowing this man is already one red crayon short of the full box is the lucky factor for not being on his side and mind-begging mom Rachel to just apologize. He still has the blood of his last victims on the front of his shirt. Sometimes the best decision is not to argue with idiots. Derrick Borte, the director, does a great job with the finer details. Everything feels personal and pacing sticks to non-stop psychopathic behavior.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a bad guy who is what he is. Russ (or the Man if you will) woke up and chose violence. His short but poignant lectures about a life that didn’t live up to his expectations do little to embrace our empathy. He mows down Rachels’ family and friends as if he lived a past life as a secret agent or hitman. Common sense for the most part is upheld on Rachels’s part which is a lovely change from the overly moronic decisions we usually see in a film of this type. She does, however, channel the Terminator on closing scenes and gets back up one too many times for my liking. The cops are noted as horror movie-worthy. What’s more, they stay ten paces behind the proactive actions of a hairdresser.
But sometimes, a thoughtless maniac is what you need in a movie. Unhinged will give you exactly what you want in a movie about a guy who decided society was to blame for all his woes.
I give Unhinged
3.5 courtesy taps out of 5