Unsane's Ending Explained

Claire Foy in Unsane

Warning: Major SPOILERS for Unsane ahead


Steven Soderbergh's tense new thriller Unsane stars Claire Foy as Sawyer, a woman who is starting a new life in a new city after escaping her creepy stalker, David (Joshua Leonard), only to find that new life disrupted when she is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital after a simple counseling session. As she begins to question her own sanity, she is pushed even further when she discovers that David has seemingly gotten a job as an orderly at the hospital,which gives him all the control over her that he could ever want.

For much of the movie, the audience is invited to question Sawyer's reality right along with her. Is she really mentally ill, and simply in a place where everyone is trying to help her? Is David really there, or is she projecting the face of her stalker onto an innocent orderly? Is her friendly fellow patient Nate (Jay Pharoah) telling the truth about the hospital keeping patients unnecessarily and against their will in order to make claims on their insurance, or is he paranoid and delusional?

Related: The Horrifying True Story Behind Unsane

Things gradually become clearer as the movie progresses: Claire is not seeing things, nor is she stuck in a delusion, though it might be better if she were. The hospital really is keeping her locked up in order to milk her insurance, and David is gradually closing the net around her in an effort to win her love (or, you know, keep her prisoner in his creepy cabin in the woods). By the end of the movie, the whole horrible truth has come out.

This Page: David's Plan (and Murders)

David's Plan (and Murders)

Joshua Leonard and Claire Foy in Unsane

David and Sawyer first met when she was volunteering at a hospice, and would read to his terminally ill father while David stood silently staring at the back of her head. As she explains to Nate, David began stalking her after the funeral, claiming that his father would have wanted them to be together. She blocked his number after he sent incessant texts declaring his love, but he then escalated things by breaking into her home while she was showering and laying out a blue dress on her bed. She filed a restraining order against him, and some time after that she moved far away, but David followed her and got a job as an orderly at the local hospital, using the alias George Shaw.

The real George Shaw, it turns out, has actually been murdered and had his identity stolen by David. David also murders Nate, for getting too close to Sawyer, and murders Sawyer's mother (Amy Irving) when she makes efforts to get Sawyer released from the hospital. Finally, David murders Sawyer's fellow patient Violet (Juno Temple), after Sawyer tricks him into bringing Violet down to her solitary confinement cell, in order to get her hands on a blade that Violet threatened her with earlier. Sawyer stabs David in the neck with the blade and manages to escape, but as she flees she sees David breaking Violet's neck, killing her instantly.

Sawyer manages to escape the building, but David sneaks up on her from behind and knocks her out with a hammer. She wakes up in the trunk of his car, next to the decomposing body of her mother, and in her desperation manages to open the trunk and break free. She runs through the woods, but falls and twists her ankle - and David finishes the job by smashing her ankle with a hammer. He then drags her, seemingly unconscious, to a quiet place amid the trees, and tells her about how he wants them to start a family together. However, Sawyer is actually still awake and still has Violet's blade, so when David lies down next to her she stabs him in the eye and then slits his throat. She's finally free... or is she?

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Key Release Dates
  • Unsane (2018) release date: Mar 23, 2018
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