Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to attend an early screening of Universal's film Unfriended, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas.
I, a fellow creator and a community manager were the first ones to go in and I was honestly dreading it. Having seen the trailer a few or so months ago, and after seeing it I rolled my eyes and thought, this is going to be another stupid horror flick with cheap jump scares, a generic story, and banal characters. And apparently many other people thought/think this too.
the bitch can hack skype and make people put their head in a blender but cant figure out who posted the youtube video
Nice! Another shitty generic horror flick!
This movie caters to the lowest common denominator. Steaming pile of dogshit
Yet, astonishingly, after seeing this not only did it beat my expectations, but I genuinely think this is one of the better modern "horror" movies to be released within the past decade.
The set up is pretty simple, there are six friends Skyping (their reason for group chatting isn't revealed). And it happens to be the one year anniversary of a fellow classmate--Laura Barn's suicide. It's revealed in the trailer that after a humiliating video is posted of her on youtube, and everyone's telling her to go kill herself, she does just that. So, while chatting they noticed an obscure user also on their session. They try multiple times to sign out and sign in, and talk to them before they respond. And the user is seemingly Laura Barns' spirit, and she's out for revenge.
While I thought it was going to suck, I admitted that while the idea it was all taking place on Skype sounded gimmicky, it also sounded innovative. And the film perfectly utilizes social media platforms. [Unfriended](movie:2115877) also answers people's main criticisms. Like, why don't they just sign off, call the police, or leave? And how (can)/why (is) the person behind this (can) do all of this, but not figure out who sent the video?
On the surface, the characters seem to be the typical stereotypes seen in horror flicks. Such as: the stoner, douchebag, slut, and good girl. Yet, as it progresses, their true colors and complexities are shown. A few of its (in my opinion) best aspects are its mystery, marketing and acting. There seems to be an underlying theme that this could be the work of a ghost, or someone associated with the victim, and the producers borrowed the Blair Witch's marketing strategy with having Facebook profiles of the characters, and videos of Laura Barns on Youtube. And while it's obvious this isn't real, there are some people who think the videos are. It's cast is phenomenal, a couple of their faces are familiar: Shelly Hennig ([Teen Wolf](series:721002)) and Jacob Wysocki (Fat Kid Rules the World). Yet, the film heavily depends on their acting abilities because if they're bad, then the audience won't get sucked in. Fortunately, they got a terrific group of actors who give authentic, chilling performances.
Of course, what I think sets this apart from being a great horror film is that it's really not a horror flick. It just seems like a movie where they implanted some jump scare scenes. If anything, the audio's going to frighten you because it's so DAMN LOUD. Which is annoying, I wish they'd stop having the volume always on master. Back then, thrillers were terrifying enough without the volume blaring your ear drums. They do use a few horror tropes, but they don't ruin the movie.
So, please don't knock this film till seeing it. You're all welcome to your opinions, but this movie retaught me to not judge a movie before watching it.