Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer
Starring: Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard and Jay Pharoah
This film starts showing us a path through the woods. It has a blue tint to it and there is voice-over narration. We then shift to a woman working in a bank, Claire Foy. She is talking to a customer over the phone and she is very short with her. A coworker, Sarah Stiles, tries to commend her and Foy is short with her as well. Foy then sees a man walk through the office and she is freaked out. Her boss, Marc Kudisch, calls her into his office and makes some subtle advances about going to a conference together. He is clearly married and Foy deflects them.
We then see Foy go on a date from an application on her phone. She is forward with him and he is into it. They go back to her place and she freaks out. He leaves. We learn that she was in a stalking situation and it really messed her up. She looks up support groups to deal with this and goes to a local mental health facility.
She meets with a counselor where she lets slip she has had thoughts of suicide. She also informs her of the fear that she has from this man she was stalked by. She fills out some more paperwork and is then led to a room by an orderly. He takes her phone and other things from her purse. A nurse then comes in, Polly McKie. She has her strip down and then has her put on a gown. Foy has signed the forms to get herself voluntarily committed. She admittedly didn’t read through the forms very well. She uses the phone to call the police and thinks this will all be cleared up shortly.
She is put into a room with Jay Pharoah, Raúl Castillo and Juno Temple. Temple doesn’t like her very much, when Foy ignores her. She threatens to cut her hair off when she falls asleep with a shiv she made from a spoon.
Foy meets with the doctor the next day and tries to get him to let her out. The problem is that she attacked another patient and the orderly from earlier that first night. She is now stuck her for 7 days. Pharoah tries to help her by telling her to keep her head down. He believes there is an insurance scam going on that will be cleared up. He also has a cellular telephone he snuck in. He allows Foy to use it to call her mother, Amy Irving. She gets her to try to find a way to get her out.
Foy has trouble staying calm though when the man that stalked her, Joshua Leonard, is also an orderly working here. He is the one that is handling the medication that is being handed out to the patients. Foy freaks out and is sedated.
Is Leonard who Foy thinks he is? Or is he really the man that he claims to be? Will Foy be able to get out in the 7 days like Pharoah thinks? Or has she really lost it like the doctors and nurses think?
I had seen a lot of trailers for this film and it sparked my interest. The first thing that caught my attention was that it was Steven Soderbergh making a horror film. The other part of it was that it was filmed with an iPhone. Upon seeing it, I will say that I really liked this film. The concept of it is very interesting. What I really enjoyed was that I thought it was going one way and then it shifted. It had me guessing all the way until the end. I thought the characters were fleshed out in such a great way. On top of that though, we get reveals about them that I wasn’t expecting and it just made the story that much deeper. I even like that the film even seems to be a bit of a social commentary about the healthcare system in America. Now I don’t like when a film bluntly pushes a deeper meaning, but the way this film does it I enjoyed since it was more of an underlying subtext. I thought the ending was good and it was something that was harkened back to earlier in the film. It definitely comes full circle.
The acting was great in this film. Foy does a great job as it is hard to tell if she is seeing things or if they are real. You get the sense she is paranoid, but it is to the point where you don’t know what is real and what isn’t. Leonard also did a solid job as well. What I liked about him is that you don’t really know what he is capable of until you see the things that he does. He comes off as a tragic character and I even felt bad for him at a point. I thought the climax does a lot to reveal both of these main characters. Pharoah is also an interesting character. I wondered how long he had been in the hospital and I like his reason for being there. He does what he can to help Foy and I thought what plays out with him was interesting. It was good to see horror veteran Irving in this film. I also enjoyed McKie and Temple’s characters in the film as support.
There aren’t a lot in the way of effects in this film, but there really didn’t need to be. The amount of blood was good and it looked real. It does seem that everything was done practically. Now there were some effects with the camera showing how the medication given to Foy changes her perceptions. I liked this as it helps give a surreal feel to some scenes, which it should. We are seeing how she experiences things. The editing of the film was good. It built the tension all the way to the climax, which was satisfying. I also enjoyed the ending. The score didn’t really stand out to me, but it definitely didn’t hurt the film in my opinion.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. This does lean more toward being a thriller. The horror though is what Foy is going through, which would be terrifying. I thought the story was interesting as well as the ending. The acting from Foy, Leonard and Pharoah was really good. The rest of the cast did well in support. There aren’t a lot of effects, but there didn’t need to be. The ones used were good. I liked the effects of the camera in the film and being filmed on an iPhone gives it a gritty feel that I liked. The editing was really good and helped to build the tension needed. The score didn’t really stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt the film. I definitely think this is a really good film and deserves to be viewed.
My Rating: 9 out of 10