The movies takes place on a computer screen of high schooler Blaire, who is watching a clip of her old friend killing herself. She stops when her boyfriend messages her. Soon she starts skyping with her other friends Adam, Ken, Jess, Val and boyfriend Mitch.
It also happens to be the one-year anniversary of the death of another friend – Laura Barnes, who committed suicide over a humiliating video that got posted on YouTube. As the friends continue to chat to each other, we get to see more glimpses of the suicide YouTube clip. Things immediately turn creepy when they notice an anonymous person has joined in on their conversation.
After their futile attempt of getting rid of the unknown person, they decide that it must be just a system glitch, that is until the unknown person starts sending them messages and hack into their social network sites. It is around this time, Blair and Mitch receive messages from Laura’s Facebook account. Blaire assumes that someone is trying to prank them all, but those assumptions are quickly proven wrong when unusual incidents start to occur, along with deeply personal secrets, pictures and videos posted by the hacker of each friend. The 6 teenages are told to stay at their computers and not to attempt to call for any help if they want to live.
Many claim this is another “found footage” horror; however I wouldn’t necessarily call this as such. It has elements of the found footage style, but the film makers cleverly use social media via computer screens to tell a story. There are no shaky camera movements here, only skype and computer glitches we have all experienced at some point. Perhaps some might wonder if this concept works and if it is grating, I found the use of social media and computer screens to be rather innovative, and not the least bit bothersome.
The premise of bullying isn’t anything new, but online bullying has rarely been seen on the big screen, especially in such a realistic and natural format. As odd as it sounds, Unfriended will leave you thinking about your actions afterwards. What really gives this film a true sense of creepiness is that all of us have come across someone disturbing online, and most of us know a young person that spends a lot of time on their computer interacting with others.
Due to the setting of the film, the filmmakers rely heavily on the young actors to the deliver the intended psychological scares. Without their emotional performance, the story would fall flat. While most of the actors involved are relatively unknown, with the exception of Teen Wolf star Shelley Hennig, they undeniably deserve the praise they have been receiving.
As clever as the plot is, there are some very noticeable faults, for instance, not one of the teenagers have their families at home at night time. This might have been acceptable with one or two of the characters but certainly not all of them. Also, it is rather unbelievable that a popular teenager would only have 30 friends on Facebook.
There are scenes that contain gore but it won’t be enough to satisfy those that prefer their movies very bloody. It mostly relies on built up jump scares and imagination of the audience.
Unfriended shows low budget horror can deliver on the goods if creative imagination and cleaver resourcing are used. Although, I wouldn’t call this a horror, it’s more of a psychological thriller with a dash of supernatural.
I rate it 6 out of 10 stars.
Unfriended is in cinemas now.