I recently had the opportunity to go to a screening of yet another social-media horror film, a sub-genre that's been making fans along the way. While the trend will end up saturating the selection of these films, #FriendRequest has certain elements that make it stand out.
The movie follows Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a sophomore psychology student who seems to have the perfect life — good friends, a handsome boyfriend and something to work towards. That is, until she meets Marina (Liesl Ahlers), a lonely girl who adds her on a Facebook copycat site and tries to be friends with her. Things get intriguing when Laura and company notice she has zero friends and her profile is full of gruesome pictures and videos. While their friendship is mainly one-sided, Marina gets in an altercation with Laura and soon after, the class is told that Marina had killed herself in from of her computer, leading to some seriously messed events.
5. It's Inspired By Creepypasta
Creepypasta is a weird and dark corner on the internet, where many writers can submit their scary stories. Many of these are incredibly terrifying, to the point where you might need a change of pants after spending a number of hours reading some of that stuff.
While Friend Request is not based off a particular story, it is certainly inspired by the many stories available to read, from the lonely girl that wants to befriend the popular girl, to following orders from the voices in one's own head, it is clear that this movie knows its source material and how to give it the right twists.
It also contains elements of witchery and rituals, without seeming overboard cheesy that make the whole thing seem like more than your typical fan fiction turned movie.
4. The Art-House Sequences Are Amazing
With an amazing artistic department behind the movie, many of the animations and illustrations featured in the movie are jaw-dropping. Filled with intricate details and motives, these beautifully thought-out art pieces are pure eye-candy for fans of everything black and scary.
Additionally, the live-action/digital nightmare sequences are something of the best out there and fit right into the film's mythology altogether quite perfectly.
3. It's Genuinely Scary
Well, of course it is — it's a horror movie and it's also its job to be scary. But we all know that within the genre, there's scary and there's chill-down-your-spine scary. Friend Request falls under the second umbrella.
Sure, most of it is based off jump-scares with good timing, but the ambience is far more scary than anything else. As the story unravels, it reveales horrific things about Marina's suicide and how it affects Laura's friends. I can promise you, it ain't pretty.
2. Everything Else Is Above Average...
For most part, the devil is in the details, and I mean that in a good way, as even the smallest of things will end up being relevant to the story, making sure the audience is getting the right atmosphere.
With a movie that knows exactly what it is, not wanting to push boundaries or have some kind of expectation riding on its success, the whole "it is what it is" feeling of it all is a plus. In a world where cheap horror films tend to be taking themselves a little too seriously, Friend Request does it in a way we can sit back and enjoy the horror, while wondering what in the heck is going on.
1. ...But It Does Have Its Flaws
Like every movie, it has its problems. In this one, it's mainly focused on certain overlooked aspects of the narrative and the fun of the soap-opera TV movie acting, that occasionally is cringe-worthy. While that might be a deal-breaker for some, it really adds to the charm of a movie that you should definitely watch over Halloween.
Friend Request is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK and out on December 9th in the US.