Movie Review: Unfriended – The Ultimate Mac Tutorial

Unfriended

Genre: Horror/Thriller

Director: Levan Gabriadz

Running Time: 83 Minutes

“We make fun of those we’re most scared of becoming.”

― Neil Strauss, Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life

The Plot

 A group of high school friends are Skyping one evening, which seems to be their regular thing, when Blaire (Shelley Henning) and her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm) both get strange Facebook messages from a girl who committed suicide a year ago. Thinking that it’s a sick joke being played by another member of their group, not Skyping with them, they call the suspected prankster. Val (Courtney Halverson) swears that it’s not her. At some point during all this, each friend notices that there is an additional caller Skyped in but they are not speaking. Everyone tries to figure out whose friend this anonymous caller is but they all maintain that this person is not one of their friends.

It is then decided that this person must be a troll and they seem to have hacked the deceased Laura’s Facebook, Skype and Gmail accounts. This person is able to manipulate each of their accounts and posts damning photos of a passed out drunk Val from Jess’s (Renee Olstead) Facebook account. After some back and forth blaming and some name calling, Jess is able to delete the photos. Only to have them pop up again from Mitch’s account. It’s at this point that the friends start to realise that something is very wrong with however is on the other end of that Skype account. And so the games begin.

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Performances & Special Effects

The actors are all relative unknowns so I have nothing to really compare them to. Shelley Henning was most recently seen in Ouija and we don’t really talk about that abomination. I don’t have anything frightfully insightful to say about these characters because the film reveals them all the be really shitty people with little to no moral integrity and even less backbone. They all portrayed as backstabbing, bitchy teenagers well. The standard teen slasher tropes were accounted for (the Jock, the understanding Boyfriend, the Sluts, the Final Girl) but with a twist.

Despite the entire film being portrayed through computer screens, there were reasonable special effects. I especially liked the manner of each person’s death. Each death was personal in some way. Some deaths were grittier than others. Ken’s (Jacob Wysoki) death by blender was especially juicy. No complaints here. I must comment, at this point, on the use of technology. I thought that the PC screen would get annoying or boring but it actually kept me watching. It started to feel like I was part of the Skype call after a while. Your field of vision is narrowed, making the characters vulnerable and the viewer expectant. The glitching in picture was a nice touch, and added to the generally eerie premise.

The Review

I thought that this was going to be an easy review. I watched the movie, was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and figured I’d knock this review out in an hour or less. I’ve been sitting here, staring at this screen for two hours, having not written a word. I guess the movie affected me more than I had anticipated.

If nothing else, this movie illustrated just how awful people can be. We’ve all watched fail videos and clicked the links for something a buddy has sent us. How many of us fathom that the clips and videos we’re watching have real people in them? How many of the commenters realise how much of an impact one ill-conceived comment could have on an individual. In a time when cyber-bullying is on the rise, a movie like this is well placed in the public domain. It wasn’t preachy about the state of online bullying but it was definitely making a point. I felt that it was trying make three distinct things clear:

  1. The anonymity of a keyboard stops people from fully understanding the gravity of the words that they use. “Kill yourself”, among other phrases, is not something to be thrown around lightly.

  2. In the digital age that we are existing in, nothing will remain hidden forever. All of your ups, downs, happiest moment and worst mistakes will come back to you because it’s all recorded here – online.

  3. No-one is innocent. None of us. Not the person who posts the humiliating moment, nor the friends who share it, nor the strangers who watch and comment. As much as we would like to convince ourselves that we aren’t responsible, we are.

All in all, I enjoyed this movie, and it made me think more than I thought it would. I imagine that this movie will mean something completely different to different generations of viewers but there is a message there, nonetheless. The twist that I genuinely approved of was the death of the Final Girl. Traditionally, she will survive the teen slasher. In this case, we do not see her die but we can make the assumption that she is killed. Again, this speaks to the idea that we are all accountable for our actions.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Buy or rent Unfriended on Amazon.com

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