Unhinged is a 2020 psychological thriller.
10 out of 10 stars. Totally believable. The “victim” is one of those people who is very easy to dislike. That’s probably what makes this more fun than it should be.
In the first five minutes of the film, we see Russell Crowe break inside a home and kill the man and woman in there. Then he sets the house on fire and drives away. News reports say that Tom Cooper murdered his ex-wife in her home and sped away in a gray pickup. He’d recently suffered an on-the-job injury then lost his job, his wife, and his home. That’s enough to make anyone snap.
The next morning, Rachel Flynn wakes late. If her teenage son Kyle gets another tardy he’ll get automatic detention. She’s in the middle of a messy divorce from her husband Richard, she’s lost her hair salon, and she’s late for an appointment with her best client. But once she gets her car on the road, you realize just how reckless she is. With her son in the car, she’s weaving in and out of traffic, constantly turning her head completely around and looking at her son in the backseat, quizzing him on spelling, and looking at her appointments on her phone. She’s the epitome of a soccer mom driver.
Even though Kyle begs her not to try the freeway, she takes it anyway and traffic soon comes to a standstill. In front of her at the exit is a gray pickup that’s not moving. So she lays on her horn repeatedly then speeds around him flipping him off as she speeds by. And that gray pickup is Tom.
Tom pulls up beside her at the next intersection and motions for Kyle to roll down the window. Then he proceeds to try to teach Rachel some manners. He apologizes and then asks her to apologize. She refuses. So he follows her and she speeds up and takes some risky turns to ditch him. She drops her son off at school then makes an appointment with her attorney friend Andy to go over the next legal motion at 9 am at Darrow’s. And Andy makes a comment about how often Rachel is late. He calls it Rachel time.
Rachel stops at a convenience store for gas and leaves her phone in her car (unlocked) while she’s inside paying. Then she sees Tom in his gray pickup outside behind her car. She tells the cashier and the guy behind her offers to assist her. He stands between her car and Tom’s while she drives away. Tom runs him over and chases Rachel through traffic until she speeds down a one way residential streets and almost runs over a pedestrian.
She can’t find her phone and then hears a phone chime. Inside the console of her car is a tiny flip phone and Andy’s on the other end. Tom took her phone, met Andy at Darrow’s, and finding out that Andy is her friend, a divorce lawyer, and isn’t even getting paid enrages Tom even more. He has Rachel listen as he murders Andy in front of all the diners. Then he tells her to hang onto that phone or others will die. And yet she is still incapable of apologizing.
Tom leaves the diner and calls Rachel. He tells her to name a person to die next or he’ll go after Kyle, her mom, or Richard, her estranged husband. She gives him the name of her client who fired her that morning. Then she calls the police and gives them her clients’ address while she speeds to Kyle’s school.
Tom doesn’t go to her client’s house. He goes to her house where he finds her brother Freddie and Freddie’s fiance Mary who have been living with Rachel since the divorce began. He calls Rachel and tells her she has three minutes to pick up Kyle and get home if she wants to save Freddie. So Rachel gets Kyle and they speed toward home. Certainly not the smartest move. While they are in the car, they hear the police break into their house and attempt to save Freddie. Tom sets him on fire. The cop shoots him and Tom escapes in the neighbor’s van with the license plate ROSIE.
This takes us to an hour into the film with only thirty minutes left.
Rachel is in the car with Kyle and they see Tom on the road in Rosie’s minivan. Tom has called her and told her Freddie is dead but the cop shot him in the shoulder. About eight car lengths in front of Tom is a police car. Rachel speeds past Tom to reach the cop car and tries flagging him down. Tom speeds up behind him, hits his car causing it to spin out of control, and a huge gas semi runs over the cop and creates a huge accident with several cars.
Tom is still chasing Rachel and Kyle. But Kyle calls 9-1-1 on his tablet before it dies. The cops are all busy. Kyle tells his mom to drive to a police station (excellent idea). Instead she drives to her mother’s house (dumb idea). Here’s where the plot starts to get kind of stupid.
Rachel loses him in her mom’s neighborhood then speeds into the driveway and they run inside. Tom trolls through the neighborhood looking for Rachel’s red Volvo station wagon. And, of course, he finds her.
While Tom is staring at the driveway and her car, she crashes into him with her mother’s car and attacks him with a pair of scissors. Tom is twice her size and beats the crap out of her, telling her she’s always going to think of him and wish she’d been able to save her son. Tom goes inside to find Kyle who is hiding in a hidden panel upstairs behind a closet. But, like most kids, he gets nervous and knocks something over. Rachel gets to him before Tom does, but Tom kicks her repeatedly and grabs Kyle. Then he wraps a phone cord around Kyle’s throat and starts killing him. Rachel grabs the scissors (still in her pocket) and stabs him in the eye then kicks them into his brain. Tom dies instantly.
When the police arrive they discover Freddie is still alive. And on the drive to see Freddie, she’s almost hit by another driver and choose NOT to honk her horn.
10 out of 10 stars. Up until the last 20 minutes it was totally believable. Still a great rental.