Shutter Island

It’s all in your mind.

Or is it?

Novelist Dennis Lehane, of Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone fame, delivers a twisty, pulpy delight, then director Martin Scorsese buffs it to a high gloss, creating an immensely-entertaining tale of madness and murder.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a Deputy U.S. Marshal sent to a creepy asylum to investigate a story of a missing patient, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Everyone has secrets to hide, from our main man right down the line, and watching all the pieces fall into place, revealing the haunting reality, is great fun.

Session 9

“I live in the weak and the wounded.”

Shooting in a shuttered mental asylum, for that added creep factor, this haunting thriller follows men as they unravel and turn on each other.

They’re a work crew brought in to clean up asbestos, but their own fears, regrets, and bottled-up pain start seeping out as soon as they suck in that first breath of fetid air.

An unearthed cache of audio tapes, charting interviews with a former patient who killed her family, light the tinder.

Before the final tape unspools, they’ll all be burning in a Hell of their own making.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I know why the caged bird sings.

Playing a man pretending to be crazy, Jack Nicholson won the first of his three Oscars as Randle McMurphy, a prisoner who refuses to be held down by restraints — psychical, or of the mind.

The award was a nice makeup for being robbed the year before when his career-best work in Chinatown was nominated, but Art Carney won.

While that detective yarn is my personal all-time favorite, Cuckoo is more than worthy of all its accolades.

Perfectly mixing dark humor with pain, frustration, and, ultimately, existential horror, director Miloš Forman crafts a classic.

 

Suddenly, Last Summer

“We all use each other.”

Everyone is damaged, and everyone has secrets galore in this hothouse melodrama from the wicked pen of Tennessee Williams.

Notorious in its time, rife with hints of sordid sexual secrets, a mysterious (and disturbing) death, and the possibility Elizabeth Taylor will be lobotomized, it still stings 60+ years later.

Katharine Hepburn spit in the director’s face as a farewell, Williams didn’t like the film, and Montgomery Clift, the poster boy for Hollywood repression, struggled with alcohol and drug abuse after a harrowing pre-film car crash.

However the parts came together, together, the result is a knockout.

Unsane

Maybe they are out to get you.

The harder Sawyer struggles to convince people she’s paranoid for a reason, the more she looks like she’s lost it in this creepy thriller.

Shot entirely on an iPhone by always-innovative director Steven Soderbergh, the film follows a woman struggling to hold off a descent into madness.

Trapped in a mental hospital, is she being trailed by a stalker disguised as an orderly, or just fraying at the edges, unable to distinguish reality from betrayal by her brain?

As the walls close in, answers come, but they might not be ones she likes.