I mentioned in my MM#47 about Unfriended’s release, and not being terribly excited to see it. I watched this movie at the cinemas with my two friends and I surprisingly DIDN’T hate it as much as I thought I would! *Minor Spoilers Below*
While there were some elements I thought were trite and let the movie down, there were also some laugh-out-loud moments (for those of us with a sick sense of humour), some great kill scenes and overall, it was an entertaining horror. Worthy of awards and going to stick with me forever? No. It didn’t even get that foreboding feeling of dread as I walk into the night from the cinema afterwards. But enjoyable? Yes.
The characters, though marginally forgettable, certainly fit the regular pattern of teenage thrillers. There’s the Heroine (Blair), the Victim (Laura Barns, the girl that killed herself), the Boyfriend (Mitch), the Funny Guy (Ken), the “Slut” (Jess), the Jock (Adam) and the…other…frisky girl (Val)???
Unfriended begins innocently enough as a Skype call between boyfriend and girlfriend, and eventually they join a chat of friends. Blair is interacting with her friends, but also switching between a number of different programs, when she notices that someone is interacting from Laura Barns account. It’s revealed that Laura killed herself one year prior as a result of online bullying following a video that was posted of her on YouTube. In the Skype chat, the group notice there is an unnamed member of the group, and after attempting to call and recall, they give up and continue their conversations. Blair is convinced it’s someone fucking with them, and calls Val to see if she is behind it. Of course, Val is not to blame, and the fun begins!
The entirety of the movie is basically a screenshot of the main character’s (Blair) MAC computer screen. You see her effortlessly flip between programs like YouTube, LiveLeak, Facebook, Spotify and Skype. She also frequently iMessages her boyfriend, Mitch, throughout the movie on screen, and also pops onto Instagram briefly. I think this part was particularly smart and believable. When I am using my computer I do the same thing. Heck, right now I am also listening to Spotify, messaging someone in Facebook chat and checking emails. It did however, make me think if the movie was sponsored by any of these companies. Thought provoking I guess.
*Minor Spoilers below*
Though the characters die in a pretty predictable series, the way they each die wasn’t. There’s a blender involved, hand gun, knife, hair straightener (?) and the other deaths are unknown to the viewer. I think the writers and directors did a good job with the deaths and having the ongoing (infuriating!) buffering and loading at separate parts of the film.
The main complaint I had going into this movie was “Why don’t they just hang up?” Easy right? Hang up and you’re done. This is taken care of early on, showing the death of one of the characters when they call the police and attempt hanging up Skype. They also attempt a virus scanner which temporarily ends the horror, only for it to come back later in full force. Also, I might add here that if my computer scanned 16GB of files in about 2 minutes I’d be pretty chuffed.
All in all, I enjoyed the film. It’s not a classic film, and I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be based on the trailer alone. That being said, I think horror trailers are rarely done right in this day and age.
Have you seen Unfriended? What were your thoughts?