The Reel Review

D

Oscar-winner Russell Crowe and Caren Pistorius star in this thriller about a deranged psychopath who gets pissed off at a stressed out mom after she honks her horn at him as he dawdles at a stop light. The super frowny madman then launches into an extended, day-long act of road rage, stalking and killing her acquaintances and loved ones in gruesome and disturbing ways.

Gabriel Bateman and Caren Pistorius in Unhinged.

The first half hour of Unhinged actually IS pretty terrifying, largely due to its realism. (Road rage does seem to be on the rise and nearly all of us have experienced it on some level.) But then screenwriter Carl Ellsworth (Disturbia, Red Eye) veers completely off road and into a sea of sheer insanity. Unhinged is an icky combo of unintentional comedy and torture porn. And can we just say that Caren Pistorius’s character may just be the world’s biggest screwup? It’s really hard to root for her given her unending series of astonishingly bad choices.

Russell Crowe in Unhinged.

And why on earth did Russell Crowe, with his own history of angry behavior, agree to this embarrassing, unintended parody of an enraged psychopath? We learn nothing about his one note character as the pill-popping lunatic embarks on a rage-fueled orgy of car crashes and extreme violence.

For those too dense to figure it out, apparently the fake looking “America’s Heartland” license plates are our wink from director Derrick Borte (American Dreamer) not to take any of this too seriously. (Unhinged was filmed in New Orleans.) Besides the first half hour, the ONLY other saving grace in this awful film is Pistorius’ one-liner in the finalé. Now THAT is funny.

REEL FACTS

• Russell Crowe says he donned a fat suit for his role in Unhinged.

• Caren Pistorius (Slow Hand), who is NOT related to convicted killer/Paralympic Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, was born in South Africa but raised in New Zealand.

• Gabriel Bateman (Lights Out, Child’s Play) is NOT related to Jason Bateman (Ozark). Gabriel’s older sister Tabitha Bateman appeared in 2017’s Annabelle: Creation and 2018’s Love, Simon

 

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