Steven Soderbergh’s Psychological Thriller ‘Unsane’ Was Filmed Entirely Using An iPhone

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Prolific filmmaker Stephen Soderbergh has turned to an iPhone to create his claustrophobic thriller Unsane. The terrifying results speak for themselves.

The Time Is Now

The movie is just part of a new movement in horror films such as Get Out that won an Oscar for its screenplay, as well as The Witch and It Follows redefining what's actually classified as a scary movie.

This year will also gift horror fans John Krasinski's directorial debut A Quiet Place starring his wife Emily Blunt.

Soderbergh isn't the first director to shoot a movie on an iPhone. That honor goes to Sean Baker, who shot his critically-acclaimed 2015 movie Tangerine using a handful of iPhone 5s with judicially-applied lenses.

Soderbergh is the first to create a horror movie in this way, though. He chose to shoot the movie entirely on an iPhone 7 in order to give it that earthy, shaky-cam feel.

Real-Time Tension

Cast member Joshua Leonard, who also starred in found footage classic The Blair Witch Project, gushed about it was so how great to shoot with the phone instead of a traditional camera.

"It was really fun ... because it's portable, and you don't need a ton of light. And it's also such an omnipresent piece of technology in all of our lives at this point that it removes the kind of barrier," he said.

Leonard explained that Unsane is less of a traditional film set overall. The use of the iPhone broke down the barrier between cast, crew, and director.

It also helped ensure the actors knew whether or not they'd landed certain shots, as explained by SNL alum Jay Pharoah,

"Soderbergh was so good at just being in a place of getting a shot where you'd probably think we'd need to do that again, and he'd be like 'Oh no that's fantastic. I got it, trust me.' It's quick," he said.

Soderbergh could also start editing the movie during production, which again ensured it was done quicker, which blew the minds of actors because they could see the pieces being put together in real time.

The Future Of Filmmaking

The director upholds the idea of shooting on an iPhone that he actually announced at Sundance earlier this year that he is done making studio films. He is going to shoot everything himself on an iPhone going forward.

It remains to be seen whether or not it would work for something like his most recent release: the offbeat comedy Logan Lucky. The crime caper stars Adam Driver and Channing Tatum as hapless brothers looking to rob a NASCAR race.

Stark psychological thriller Unsane is a major departure from Soderbergh's last feature.

Unsane hits theaters on March 23, 2018

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