Capsule Review: Disquiet (2023)

It has been a while since I saw a movie starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and that would be The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones back in 2013. While he continued to act in several movies ever since ranging from Stonewall (2015) to Edge of the World (2021) and last year’s Dangerous Game: The Legacy Murders, I didn’t check out any of them until the arrival of this supernatural mystery-thriller called Disquiet.

The movie has an interesting premise, albeit a familiar one: Sam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is a career-minded workaholic who’s going to become a father following his wife’s (Anita Brown’s Sarah) pregnancy. Then, one day he is involved in a car accident that almost killed him. He soon finds himself waking up in a hospital, with his head wrapped in a bandage and the next thing he knows, the otherwise comatose old man patient across his bed suddenly attacks him for no reason.

But that’s the only beginning as Sam begins to realise there’s something wrong with the hospital. The place looks like it was being abandoned with strangely lacking hospital staff and patients except for the aforementioned old man as well as a nurse and an orderly, who appear on random occasions. After dealing with the crazy old man, he continues to wander around the hospital to look for any sign of life and eventually comes across another patient named Monica (Elyse Levesque). Monica, who’s in the hospital for cosmetic surgery, has her own fair share of surprise attacks after encountering a trio of scalpel-wielding, half-naked women trying to kill her.

Elyse Levesque in "Disquiet" (2023)

As the movie goes on, we see more characters show up including Lily (Rachelle Goulding), Frank (Lochlyn Munro), Carter (Trezzo Mahoro) and the wheelchair-bound Virgil (Garry Chalk). Together with Sam and Monica, they try to look for a way out but can’t seem to find an exit.

Writer-director Michael Winnick gets off to a promising start right from the get-go within the first few minutes, where we see Sam wakes up in a hospital and finds himself all clueless and disoriented. Winnick keeps us in suspense by not revealing what’s going on in the hospital other than wanting us to stay focused and look for answers just like Sam does throughout the movie. It has some decent creepy tone within its abandoned-hospital setting, even though the respective music and cinematography from Rich Walters, Adam Silwinski and Mel Ward are mostly generic types that you often see in many horror movies.

And while the pace moves briskly with almost devoid of a subplot except for some minor moments revolving around Sam and Sarah, Disquiet suffers from the kind of plot going around the circle. The acting doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression even with the lead appearance of Jonathan Rhys Meyers, easily the most recognisable actor among the rest of them. Winnick doesn’t give them much room for character arcs or developments that made us care whether they can get out of the hospital alive. The characters are superficially written and when it comes to the horror parts of the movie, Winnick relies heavily on the dread-inducing atmosphere, even though we get a few obligatory jump scares.

Disquiet does have the potential of becoming a cult classic of a B-horror movie. That is if only Winnick doesn’t end up with underwritten characters that tend to have awkward, yet unintentionally laughable dialogues and by-the-numbers scares.

Disquiet will be released in select theatres, on digital and on demand on February 10th.