This is my first time watching a Michael Winnick film, whose previous credits include ‘Deuces’ (2001), the Steven Seagal-starred ‘Code of Honor’ (2016), and ‘Malicious’ (2018), among others. His 8th feature-length film – the latest one called ‘Disquiet’ has a familiar but intriguing premise: A man named Sam (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) finds himself waking up in a hospital room with a bandaged head. We learn that he has a near-death car accident, as revealed in the flashback. He may survive the accident, but the worst has yet to come. This is especially true after he is surprised there’s an elderly patient in the same hospital room trying to kill him. And the thing is, he doesn’t even know the person in the first place.
Stranger things continue to happen, such as a nurse (Ashleigh Kearns) who shows up in the room and then, mysteriously disappeared when he looks away. Sam soon discovers there are other people in the seemingly abandoned hospital. This includes a patient named Monica (Elyse Levesque), who is about to go under the knife for cosmetic surgery, only to find out later there are three mysterious surgically-scarred and scantily-clad women trying to attack her following an anesthesia procedure. The movie also introduced more characters, including a doctor with a wrench (Rachelle Goulding’s Lily), an anxious cop (Lochlyn Munro’s Frank) as well as a wheelchair-bound Virgil (Garry Chalk), and an alleged convenience-store criminal named Carter (Trezzo Mahoro).
One thing I like about ‘Disquiet’ is that Michael Winnick doesn’t waste time getting to the point from the start. Shortly after a brief moment of Sam’s voiceover narration and a glimpse of him with his wife Sarah (Anita Brown), Winnick jumps straight to the mystery. As in Sam waking up in the aforementioned hospital, looking all confused with all the hows and whys. The random attack, the vanishing nurse, and the entire hospital setting that has all the spookiness of a haunted building-like vibe. Winnick, who also wrote the screenplay, keeps things moving briskly with little-to-none downtime moments to make way for the subplot. This is the kind of movie that wants you to stay alert on what’s going on, just like how Sam tries to make sense of everything in the hospital while desperately looking for a way out.
For a while there, everything seems promising with Winnick’s storytelling tactic for wanting us to play an armchair detective to figure out the bits and pieces surrounding the mysterious hospital. Several flashbacks do appear sporadically, giving us the backstories related to some of these characters other than just Sam. But of course, if you are familiar enough with this type of movie, say something like Netflix’s ‘Fractured’ starring Sam Worthington. Winnick even slipped in the topical issue of racial discrimination between Frank and Carter. While it was a minor inclusion, he still deserves a special mention for diversifying it more than just a strictly genre movie.
But as much as I appreciate Winnick’s pacy approach in ‘Disquiet,’ he botches a few opportunities to turn this into a potentially better-than-expected supernatural mystery-thriller. The overall hospital setting, which relies heavily on Adam Sliwinski and Mel Ward’s gloomy cinematography bathed in a typical combination of blue and green filters, feels like it was straight out of a horror genre from the 2000s era. While it evokes a sense of creepiness, Winnick could have done more with the seemingly abandoned hospital setting. Because the constant shots of Sam and the rest of the characters running around and some of the characters attacking them every now and then tend to grow repetitive. This, in turn, made me feel the otherwise lean 85-minute runtime like it was being overstretched for its own good.
‘Disquiet’ is unintentionally laughable at times. Notably, the recurring moments of Sam finding out a person who is supposed to be there ends up disappearing all of a sudden each time he turns away and looks back. Some of the characters’ dialogues sound cringey and other times, when one of them attempts to crack a joke, it just feels awkwardly misplaced. Winnick also throws in some obligatory jump scares, but there are simply minor ones that aren’t particularly scary.
Finally, when it comes to the performances, Jonathan Rhys Meyers spends most of the time acting all disoriented and perplexing throughout the movie. His character isn’t that interesting, to begin with, and frankly, I don’t really care whether he can make it out of the hospital at the end of the movie. Although Jonathan Rhys Meyers is no longer the same actor who used to have a promising career with the likes of ‘Match Point’ (2005), ‘Mission: Impossible III’ (2006), and of course, the four-season TV series ‘The Tudors’, he deserved a better-written character than the one we get in ‘Disquiet.’ The rest of the cast is just as forgettable.