Warning: Spoilers for Unhinged are about to take effect. If you don’t want to know the story of this intense action thriller, we politely ask you to turn back around, and come back once you’ve experienced it for yourself. Consider this your courtesy tap.
One bad day is all it takes to push a person to the brink of sanity. While that story has historically been explored through adventures such as the seminal Batman story The Killing Joke, there’s a pretty deep exploration into that subject with director Derrick Borte’s recent thriller Unhinged. As Russell Crowe’s madman Tom Cooper terrorizes single mother/unintentional victim Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorious) through a day from Hell, Tom’s mission is to show Rachel just what a bad day feels like. And in seven key moments that lead to the films’ brutal conclusion, Mr. Cooper gets his point across more than abundantly. Here’s the path that led to Unhinged’s big finale, and it all starts with something so innocuous we’ve all experienced it once or twice.
Rachel Hunter And Tom Cooper Meet In Traffic
The simple beginnings that kick off Unhinged’s chain of events arise from a moment every driver has experienced at least once in their lives: a driver that doesn’t understand the urgency of a green light. With Rachel already being late to drop her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) off at school, and losing a prime hairdressing gig because of traffic, she’s anxious to get the huge truck in front of her on its way. So, she honks a bit aggressively, and eventually drives around said truck, which happens to belong to Tom Cooper, a very un-entertained man, and homicidal psycho.
Rachel Fails To Apologize To Tom
Tom is already steamed and primed for mayhem, as Unhinged’s opening saw him kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend. But he’s not above giving Rachel a chance to apologize for not giving a courtesy tap on her horn, and getting a bit aggressive. Rachel refuses to say sorry, as she doesn’t feel she needs to make an apology for her actions. While this is something the audience could interpret in their own fashion, Tom Cooper takes this as his cue to educate Rachel Hunter in a truly bad day.
Tom Steals Rachel’s Cell Phone
After some stressful moments in traffic, Unhinged continues its slow burn to conflict by having Rachel stop for gas. What looks like a normal, everyday moment turns into the start of something more sinister, as not only has Tom followed her to the gas station, but he eventually steals her phone from the car. And, to cap off all of the fun that comes from Tom Cooper having her whole schedule and life story in his hands, he plants a tablet so that he can track Rachel’s movements. Though he won’t have a problem getting her to come to him, as he’s about to take some drastic actions.
Tom Kills Rachel’s Divorce Lawyer
As Rachel Hunter is in the middle of a contentious divorce, her life is in a bit of a complicated spot before the events of Unhinged. If it wasn’t for her good friend/divorce attorney Andy (Jimmi Simpson,) Rachel would probably be a little unglued herself. Which is exactly why, after finding her appointment to meet Andy at the local diner in her phone, Tom Cooper pays a special visit to good old Andy. It doesn’t last long, but an impression is definitely made, as Tom kills his mark while on the phone with Rachel, by bludgeoning him with a coffee mug and plunging a knife into his neck.
Rachel’s Brother Is Tortured, After Tom Kills His Fiancee
Tom Cooper’s game of death, at this point, already has Unhinged swimming in some harrowing waters. And with Rachel Hunter’s phone in his possession, leaving Rachel only with a flip phone he left in her car, anything from money transfers to her ex-husband to killing random contacts is on the board. Which leaves Rachel with one choice: either give Tom a target, or her ex-husband gets all her money. Trying to play along, Rachel tells him the name and address of the client that fired her at the beginning of the day, thinking he’ll be a man of his word.
Unfortunately, Rachel predictably warns the police, and it turns out Tom Cooper pulled a Joker out of his deck of cards, surprising her brother Fred (Austin P. McKenzie) and his fiancée Mary (Juliene Joyner) while they’re at Rachel’s house. The end result is Fred, trying to defend himself with a knife, accidentally allowing Tom to kill Mary by throwing her onto the knife several times; followed by Fred being bound in a chair. With Rachel still on the phone, Tom lights Fred on fire, moments before a police officer arrives and puts that fire out, along with a bullet in Tom’s shoulder.
Tom Tries To Kill Rachel’s Son, Kyle
After a day’s worth of Unhinged cat and mouse games, Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe) finally gets his in one last showdown with hairdresser/ass kicker Rachel Hunter Luring her tormentor to her mother’s old home, it looks like Tom is about to give her the bad day he’s been promising since they had their run in during the morning commute, as he plans on killing her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman,) and letting her watch. Which leads her to delivering the killing blow, while Tom tries to strangle Kyle with an electrical cord.
The Death Of Tom Cooper
Thankfully, even though Tom tried to knock out Rachel with his patented face punch (a move he’s used throughout the entirety of Unhinged to varying effect), she persevered through two different instances of that move. She stabs Tom with Chekov’s candy cane scissors from the first act, right in the eye. Still alive, and ready to tussle, Tom tries to recover, as Rachel delivers her one-liner of justice: “Here’s your fucking courtesy tap.” She kicks the scissors further into his head, killing Tom once and for all.
Surviving their day from hell, and with the news that her brother actually survived his fiery moment with Tom, Rachel and Kyle drive off into the rest of their day. Someone suddenly cuts them off, and instead of wailing on her horn like she did at the beginning of Unhinged, Rachel takes a beat, and a deep breath. Kyle acknowledges this moment as a “good choice,” and the two drive off to an interesting cover of “Don’t Fear The Reaper.”
Unhinged is the story of a madman who already starts the day at a 10, and cranks his madness up to a 20 when all is said and done. But at the same time, the film is also a tale of a woman who, when pressed against the wall of fate, finds the strength to do what she needs to do to keep her family safe.
Just as Tom Cooper lashes out in greater, more menacing swipes at Rachel Hunter, she evolves into someone who's not going to take it. While the chain of events that got her there isn't the most ideal classroom to learn such a lesson, it's good to know that Rachel leaves the day with a better head on her shoulders, and her son still safe and sound.
If you’re near a theater that’s showing the film, and feel you’re ready to safely go back to the movies, Russell Crowe’s Tom Cooper is waiting to take you on a ride through the depths of Hell. That is, of course, if you have read all these spoilers without seeing the film for yourself.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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