Review: 'Unhinged' is a vicious daylight horror without purpose

Russell Crowe stars as “The Man” in the psychological thriller UNHINGED (Photo: Skip Bolden/Solstice Studios)

2 out of 5 Stars
Derrick Borte
Writer: Carl Ellsworth
Starring: Russell Crowe, Caren Pistorius, Jimmi Simpson
Genre: Thriller
Rated: R for strong violent content, and language throughout

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SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Synopsis: A road rage incident spirals out of control when a psychotic man looks to teach a single mom a lesson.

Review: I imagine that there will be those who find Unhinged to be a fantastic throwback to the revenge thrillers of the 1970s. It’s packed with senseless violence and characters defined by inexplicable stupidity. Russell Crowe stars as “The Man,” a one-note character that chews scenery and shakes his fist at the world. Caren Pistorius stars as Rachel, the woman who can’t say she’s sorry (or keep her life together now that she’s getting a divorce).

“Unhinged” wants to be provocative. It’s tagline, “He can happen to anyone,” a divine mantra to remind us that psychopaths walk among us. It’s just sloppy and filled with more questionable character decisions than the entire "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise.

“The Man” has that supernatural ability of being exactly where he needs to be when the plot, logic be damned, needs him to appear. This might work for Jason Voorhees (there are many who would tell you that it doesn’t), but it certainly doesn’t work in a film that purports to be exploring the real world of road rage.

At best, “Unhinged” is a daylight horror film that does little to create a sense of atmosphere. Its use of violence doesn’t actually address anything. The case might be made that it is a nihilistic work, but it pales artistically to anything that Gaspar Noé or Lars von Trier or Pier Paolo Pasolini crafted.

"Unhinged" will have its fans, but it's the sort of film that comes and goes without having any lasting impact. That's fine. It happens all the time. I just don't think that's what the filmmakers had in mind.

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