Film Review: Unfriended (2014)

‘If it were to be presented as a normal horror film then the plot itself would have reduced this film to be in the darkest corners of the Netflix horror section’

Unfriended, 2014

Directed by: Leo Gabriadze

Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman

 

While it seemed inevitable in the technological world of the 21st-century for a film to be presented like this, but it is still an amazing achievement for a film to be presented entirely through the computer. It has its pros and cons, but it is still visually impressive. On the anniversary of the death of Laura (Heather Sossaman), a girl who was bullied so much so that she committed suicide, Blaire (Shelley Hennig) and a group of her friends begin a Skype group chat only to soon discover an unknown visitor, ‘billie227’, has joined in their group chat and cannot be rid of. It’s not long for the horrors to begin as all the secrets of Blaire and her friends are revealed.

If it were to be presented as a normal horror film then the plot itself would have reduced this film to be in the darkest corners of the Netflix horror section, because it is quite basic: teenagers all played some role in Laura’s death and now an unknown identity is interfering with their conversation and soon begins to eliminate them one-by-one. However, it’s granted a wider, more mainstream audience due to its uniquely creative visual presentation. On the plus side, it works because it is so different from everything else in the genre and allows for a more creative method of investigating history of Laura’s death. But, while it is impressive and unique, it also allows for more dead air time and more boring moments: the most obvious of these is when Blaire thinks someone has hacked into Laura’s Facebook account and decides to report the hack to Facebook, so we have to sit through her typing in all the details onto the Facebook form (made all the more annoying by the lack of payoff from this scene). This happens a few times throughout where we have to sit through dead air while Blaire types stuff, which is a negative on the stylistic choice because it means we can’t pan from one scene to another or have Blaire type this off screen while talking to someone.

Unfriended, 2.jpg

The game of Never Have I Ever Which they played was also dragged on for far too long despite the fact I understand its inclusion. It’s included to create tension between the group and slowly reveal all the details of the death of Laura, from those who bullied verbally to those who posted embarrassing videos of her online, so it’s useful for the overall story, but the 30-seconds they are given to shout at each other to own up to what’s been said gets quite old very quickly (and despite the fact they are being picked off one-by-one they still seem to care more for the face that Blaire has slept with someone else before her current boyfriend).

A poor and generic horror film made interesting by its unique presentation, full of pretty fine acting (although it’s hard to judge too much by them being on Skype), but there’s far too much dead air time and searches to fully engage the audience too much.

 

Personal: * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * * *

Overall Rating: * * ½

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