Monday, May 9, 2016

Film Review: Unfriended (2014)

Unfriended (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the film hardly leaves an impression."

A group of friends, including Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig), are terrorized by an anonymous person using the account of a dead peer.

Unfriended is an interesting horror film. The entire movie is told through the perspective of Blaire's Macbook screen. The story takes place over one night. Blaire and her friends – Mitch, Jess, Ken, and Adam – try to hangout over Skype, but a random user named "billie227" has invaded their video chat. After failing to get rid of their uninvited guest, the group realize the account belongs to a "Laura Barnes." Laura was a classmate who committed suicide after a humiliating video of her was uploaded to YouTube, which caused some harsh bullying. So, these horrible teenagers are forced to face their sins while hysterically crying and screaming over one another. Of course, they suffer some violent deaths, too. The film leads to a fairly generic ending – boo!

Srsly, guys, this movie was barely decent. I liked the idea, but the execution was like not very good, which was totally disappointing. I mean, it was interesting at times, but it was also ANNOYING. These characters were so obnoxious and stupid. (What teenager isn't, amirite? 😏) Like, why didn't a single one of them try to turn off their computers and leave? Why did they cry and scream so much??? IT'S SO STUPID! I dunno, I thought the characters hurt the movie the most. I just, like, couldn't like-like them. It wasn't so scary, either. U probably won't be scared. Ughh, it could have been so good. Too bad. 😭

Okay, enough of that. Unfriended is an interesting film. I liked the concept. I was especially intrigued by the shooting style, even when it still suffered from the same old found footage issues. (I swear, these cameras are always malfunctioning at the worst times. Blumhouse needs to invest in some better equipment.) The story and its themes were also interesting. Hell, there was even one scene that caught me by surprise. Unfortunately, the characters are incredibly annoying and dimwitted. The horror relies too much on jump-scares, which are usually related to computer 'glitches' or tones/alarms. Aside from the concept and anti-bullying themes, the film hardly leaves an impression. I was more irritated than scared.

Despite disliking these characters, I thought the acting was fine. I think Shelley Hennig can be a fine actress with the proper roles. Moses Jacob Storm was also good. I would be able to more properly assess their acting if they weren't screaming and crying most of the time, but alas. This is a type of found footage, I suppose, much like The Den. Fortunately, it's not nauseating and you can actually see most of the scenes. The film is written by Nelson Greaves and directed by Leo Gabriadze. The writing could use some work, especially in the character department. The direction, on the other hand, could use a bit more variety and suspense. Loud noises do not equal horror. They can work, sure, but you need a bit more than that.

Overall, Unfriended is a decent horror film. The story was interesting, the shooting style was immersive, and there are a few jolting scenes here. On the other hand, the characters are obnoxious, the horror is one-note (jump-scares), and the film fails to leave an impression. I suppose you have a few options here: you can watching something else, you can watch Unfriended, or you can hang out with teenagers; the latter is probably the absolute worst horror you can experience if Unfriended is an accurate depiction of modern teenagers. You've been warned... and unfriended! 😋😘😒

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

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