Unfriended (2014) – Review

In 1999 The Blair Witch Project marked the beginning of a huge trend that is still one of the most used techniques by horror filmmakers. Found footage horror flicks have been in our lives way too long and it seems that the time has come for another sub-genre to blossom.

With that being said, it’s possible that Unfriended could potentially spawn the era of a new sub-genre: an advanced and cyber-enhanced found footage horror. This updated version introduces a bright new style of online terror aiming to capture the audience’s attention through the uses of the web and it’s a concept based entirely on the internet and social media.

What’s ground-breaking in Levan Gabriadze’s horror creation is that he managed to create an entire horror movie by showing nothing but the protagonist’s laptop screen, one video call and a few online messages. It’s an overstatement to say that it was completely successful, but his risky experiment led to a rather interesting and refreshing outcome. Why’s that? It’s because the entire story is unraveled through youtube videos, skype calls and facebook messages. And it goes as follows.

It’s been a year since Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), an attractive high school girl from California, committed suicide after an embarrassing video of her was posted online and ruined her life.

A year later, her close friend and lead actress Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is still trying to recover from the tragic event and we see her on the anniversary of her best friend’s death spending a casual night at home chatting online with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm) and joining video chats with her friends.

The presence of a creepy person named Billie interferes with their online conversations and soon this annoying skype glitch will turn into a vicious presence from the beyond and will stir up waves of panic and gore. That’s when it becomes clear that the group is terrorized by an entity – a violent and vengeance seeking cyberbully – that claims to be their deceased friend Laura and forces them to play a game in order to get the truth out of them and expose everyone’s haunting secrets. At first, the malicious apparition makes its presence known by chatting with them and hacking their accounts, but eventually its murderous intentions will cause mayhem and culminate in violent killings: entertaining, yes, but certainly – and unfortunately – the least possible.

Since we’re dealing with a new type of horror here, it’s unlikely to be bombarded with bland clichés and generic tropes, however it’s going to take more than a group of friends being bullied by a tormented dark soul to win over the crowd.

Unfriended comes from a new generation of filmmakers, who have the web in their bloodstream and online interaction is a natural part of life. The mise-en-scène is rather new and is a true breath of fresh air for a genre that has seen way too many found footage flicks. A few mistakes and gaps every now and then are probably justifiable, but certainly require more work.

This refreshing cyber-horror endeavor has probably a big future ahead of it and it will be really interesting to see how better – or gorier – it can get. In the end, as far as Unfriended is concerned, is it an interesting approach? Yes. Is it a scary choice? No.

And to quote Colin Clive in Frankenstein: It’s Alive! It’s Alive! 6/10

One Response to “Unfriended (2014) – Review”
  1. Dan O. says:

    It has a gimmick that, surprisingly, they work with quite well. Even if it is a bit silly by the end. Nice review.


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