By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B (3 stars)
We all love social networking, don’t we? From MySpace to Facebook, to Twitter to Google Plus, and of course Skype and Text Messaging, it seems like once people discovered all these social media websites everything was perfect…right? Wrong, Russian film director Levan Gabriadze and producer Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, 9, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) brings us a Paranormal Activity-ish horror film about the Facebook and Skype accounts of a dead person killing young teenagers off one by one like a serial killer, I am of course talking about Unfriended.
While I wouldn’t say the film was as scary or entertaining as other recent horror films like The Cabin in the Woods, The Conjuring, or It Follows, but the creativity and concept itself is enough to make it stand out from the rest of the crowd, even if it does rip off quite a few Paranormal Activity and Saw clichés. And when the jump scares work, they work and can leave a tingle down your spine that will get even bigger the moment you get on your computer after watching the movie.
The film follows high school students, Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig-The Secret Circle, Teen Wolf, Ouija), Mitch Roussel (Moses Jacob Storm), Jess Felton (Renee Olstead-The Insider, End of Days, 13 Going on 30), Ken Smith (Jacob Wysocki), and Adam Sewell (Will Peltz) chatting on Skype and having a great time, everything’s fine at first. That is until an anonymous account appears in their Skype group that claims to be one of their classmates that committed suicide named Laura Barns who informs them that they are going to die if they don’t do what she tells them.
At first they think it’s a hacker or a glitch, but they soon realize that they can’t get rid of the account so they’re stuck doing what the account demands or die.
Laura starts playing cruel pranks and games on all of them (Now that sounds familiar!) to get revenge on them for mocking her and wishing she killed herself and Blaire and her friends have to play to win…or die trying.
Overall, Unfriended is a very unique scary film, though not exactly scary or even that original because we’ve seen a lot of this before with Paranormal Activity and Saw. But the camera work and low budget effects and scares are clever and creative enough to entertain. The characters are very stock and horror movie stereotypes, the good girl, the boyfriend, the naughty girl, the jock, and the nerd, however they seem slightly intentional but it doesn’t scream Cabin in the Woods character satire.
The scares are very cheap and doesn’t rely on CG spirits or monsters, which I think works for this type of film, instead it consists of sudden collapses, shootings, stabbings, and blender hand slaughtering and it’s all through the social networking cameras which I think is very clever and adds to the suspense.
If you enjoyed movies like Paranormal Activity and Saw, and happen to spend a lot of time on social media sites, chances are you might enjoy Unfriended, although I think they should have changed the title to Paranormal Activity 5: Revenge of The Social Network, but I digress. It’s a decent movie and a great way for parents to punish their misbehaving teens without exactly grounding them from their computers, so that means it’s better as a torture device than an actual movie…how deliciously cruel.