Laura Barns committed suicide due to her being bullied online and now a group of friends who assisted in the torment are facing her wrath from beyond the grave. On the anniversary of Laura's death, a group of five friends start to receive odd messages from her Facebook and Skype account, soon after, their accounts are hacked and their lives are threatened by Laura's vengeful spirit.
"Unfriended" uses its incredibly low budget to its great advantage, the film is completely set on the computer screen of Blaire (Shelley Hennig) as she navigates between Facebook, Skype, Spotify and Google. Now...if you're thinking this doesn't sound interesting at all, then I don't blame you. But this inventive and very unique way of storytelling made "Unfriended" all the more entertaining.
I always look for originality when I go into a Horror movie, and "Unfriended" certainly uses conventional characters and scares but the way in which it is filmed was very unique, having the entire story play out on a computer screen was unlike anything I've ever seen before.
The characters in the movie are your standard group of Horror movie teenagers and most of them don't get a lot of depth other than Blaire who you learn quite a lot about from seeing the way she types, her Spotify playlists, her Google searches etc. Sometimes Blaire will start typing a message but then delete it all and rephrase her message, and this subtle addition added a lot to her personality. If she clicked on links without hesitating or sent messages without a second thought I don't think the film would have worked as well because that's not realistic.
The last thing I expected to feel when seeing "Unfriended" was unsettled, the film was actually very tense, something as simply as waiting for a reply back from one of Blaire's friends was sometimes nail bitingly intense. The more graphic moments in the film, some of which can be seen in the trailer, were horrifying and I found myself rooting for these characters to make it through this experience alive.
A couple of times I felt myself really getting invested in the story, I did want to know what happened with Laura's suicide and why she was driven to take her own life.
The film can be ridiculous at times and also a lot of fun, but it does deal with very real issues, such as Cyber-bullying. The issues that the film brings up added a lot more weight to the story.
Laura decides to uncover some of the groups dirty little secrets and the friends start to turn on each other, they were fighting for their own lives, still trying to protect their friends, but ultimately it transforms into the survival of the fittest as soon as the game "Never Have I Ever" gets introduced.
"Unfriended" succeeds because of its realism, it uses real websites, the actual sound effects of those sites, the notifications popping up on screen, the buffering and lag of Skype chats, all of this added realism to what could have been a very lazily put together Horror film.
Before seeing the film I was nervous that the gimmick would wear off in around 20 minutes but is surprisingly holds up for its entire run time. The film clocks in at around 80 minutes that's the perfect length for a film like this, any longer and I feel like we would have already seen everything the movie can do.
"Unfriended" was a very pleasant surprise, if you're a Horror fan and seek originality then I recommend this movie, it doesn't offer a lot new in terms of character or actual scares, but the way in which we watch the film is certainly an experience. "Unfriended" isn't the best Horror of the year so far, that title still belongs to "It Follows" but this is a very fun time!