Rachel (Caren Pistorius) is running late to work when she has an altercation at a traffic light with a stranger (Crowe), who begins to stalk and terrorise her throughout the day as he becomes more violent and deranged with each passing minute.
In normal circumstances, odds are 'Unhinged' would come and go from cinemas with little in the way of fanfare or any of the heightened attention that it's receiving. That it was made for relatively small money, features a cast of - bar Russell Crowe and Jimmi Simpson - relative unknowns, and features a premise that's been done before and arguably better, doesn't stand in the way that this is the first saturation release in Ireland since the pandemic began.
As cinemas slowly begin to reopen across Ireland and indoor restrictions hopefully set to be eased by August, the likelihood is that 'Unhinged' will sit atop the box office for at least a week or two and no doubt capture some headlines and paragraphs in trade bibles as well. All well and good, but this begs the question as to whether or not it's actually any good?
Russell Crowe is his reliable self, hamming it up as a demented avatar of misguided rage and impotent violence and chucks himself across the screen with wild glee. His heavily wrought accent, together with his fulsome frame, just soaks up the camera at every available opportunity, leaving precious little for anyone else to make something out of what is essentially Joel Schumacher's 'Falling Down' crossed over with 'Jaws' with a sprinkle of social commentary across the top.
Derrick Borte's command of pacing and tension is assured, and the script from Carl Ellsworth - who previously wrote such thrillers like 'Red Eye' and 'Disturbia' - is functional, but very much the kind of thing that would have been a blast in ten or fifteen years ago, but isn't up to much now. There are plenty of clunkers of lines, not to mention Crowe chewing the scenery at every given opportunity, but by and large, it's driving one scene into the next and getting the work done of keeping the story moving forward.
'Unhinged' is enjoyable, and its gruesome action and the terrifically paced story will have you chomping down on popcorn, just waiting to see what happens next. In normal circumstances, 'Unhinged' would probably fall between the cracks, but as a broadly entertaining new movie when they're at a premium, it's more than worth the recommendation.