The New Orleans- and Kenner-shot road-rage thriller Unhinged is currently playing in theaters and is not streaming online. Yes, the only way to see it is to venture out to the movie theater during this pandemic, so if you do plan on heading out to the show, please be safe and wear a mask. Unhinged is playing at the Prytania Theatre, AMC Elmwood Palace, AMC Westbank Palace 16, and AMC Clearview Palace 12.
Anyway, with the opening credits showing news/video footage of acts of anger and violence, you would think Unhinged is trying for—however heavy-handed—some social commentary about underlying rage in our society. No. This movie has nothing to say. But is it just a suspenseful bit of escapist entertainment? No, again. What you get with Unhinged is an atrocious, logic-free slasher film with a surprising amount of cruelty.
Oscar-winner Russell Crowe stars as Tom Cooper, a guy we know is very bad from his introduction scene where he bludgeons his ex-wife and her partner to death before setting their house ablaze. We then meet down-on-her-luck single mom Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who has a confrontation with Tom at an intersection while racing her son (Gabriel Bateman) to school. From then on, Tom stalks her on the road. It's him in his big truck against Rachel in her crummy little station wagon. Eventually, Tom steals her cell phone and makes a kill list from her contacts.
Because of Tom's public displays of murder and mayhem, there should have been a massive police manhunt for him, but the cops in this movie either get going way too late, show up at the wrong place, or get crushed by a semi-truck.
Instead of suspense, director Derrick Borte gives us moments of sadistic violence. In one scene, Tom beats a woman to a bloody pulp. He then pushes the woman at her boyfriend, who is brandishing a butcher knife, making the poor woman land on the knife. The mad killer ties the boyfriend up, forces him to record a video confession stating that he murdered his own girlfriend, and then sets the guy on fire. I can take violence in movies, but Unhinged has an extreme mean streak to it that it is a complete turnoff.
1 Star * (Out of Four)