Unhinged Review: Russell Crowe Terrifies in Brutal Thriller

Russell Crowe portrays the most terrifying character of his illustrious career. Unhinged has the Oscar winning actor exploding with bitter rage and sadistic violence. He brutalizes an innocent woman, her family, and friends after a chance traffic encounter. It’s a nightmare scenario of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Where a random stranger attacks mercilessly and without cause. Unhinged is a pulp thriller that will certainly raise your blood pressure.

On a dark and stormy night, a troubled man (Russell Crowe) sits in his pickup truck outside a suburban house. He grabs a hammer and walks to the front door. The following day in a different part of the city, Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorius) gets up late for work. She rushes to get ready; much to the consternation of her anxious son, Kyle (Gabriel Bateman). He doesn’t like driving on the highway.

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Rachel darts through traffic as she races to get Kyle to school. She honks at the pickup truck in front of her when it doesn’t move for the green light. Rachel drives around, but comes to a standstill again. The pickup driver pulls alongside her and Kyle. He demands an apology for her rude behavior. She ignores him at first, but he angrily persists. Rachel issues a terse “sorry” before getting on her way. She drops Kyle off, but notices the truck in her rearview mirror. She is being followed. Rachel has aroused the ire of a dangerous psychopath. Everyone she loves becomes a target for his vengeance.

Unhinged gets down to its bloody business quickly. The stranger becomes a seemingly unstoppable force of carnage. There’s no need for a volume of exposition or character development. He has snapped completely. The only justification left in his life is to destroy Rachel’s. It’s a case of road rage, lit on fire, and then doused with gasoline. Death comes as blunt force trauma, at the tip of a blade, and pummeling fists. Director Derrick Borte (The Joneses, American Dreamer) pulls no punches for style.

Russell Crowe channels his commanding screen presence into pure misogynistic hatred. The character faults women for his downfall. Rachel is the embodiment of his failures. Unhinged tells a story that is extreme, but all too common in society. Ex-husbands, boyfriends, the recent surge of despicable Incels, violence towards women and children is not an outlier. Crowe puts an ugly face on this wrath. He takes what could have been a B-movie role and infuses it with frightening realism.

Unhinged must be seen with a heaping suspension of disbelief. Law enforcement is essentially useless. Rachel makes multiple questionable decisions on the run. Anyone who tries to help her meets a gruesome fate. Don’t overthink the characters reactions or you’ll ruin the scares. Unhinged has garnered widespread acclaim in European and Australian markets. It will be the first major American theatrical release since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. I sincerely hope that audiences are able to enjoy the film safely. It’s a doozy, and definitely worth a trip to the cinema. Unhinged is a production of Ingenious Media. It will be released on August 21st by Solstice Studios.

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Julian Roman at Movieweb

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