A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Leo Gabriadze
Produced By: Timur Bekmambetov, Nelson Greaves
Written By: Nelson Greaves
Starring: Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Typing away at my Macintosh computer, I’m constantly waiting for an evil spirit to take control of my desktop as it seeks revenge for the way I treated it when I was younger.
I remind myself however, that I wasn’t a bully in my earlier years, but nevertheless, tension, uncertainty and dread ensue as Unfriended brings many universal suspicions about the cyber age too the forefront.
Starring a mixed bag of conventional teenage archetypes combined with the tiresome style of found-footage horror, Unfriended has proven to be one of the most surprising pictures of the year.
Playing out entirely on the desktop of lead character Blaire’s laptop whilst participating in a group Skype conversation, the film focuses on the past, the dead and the dangers of the Internet age in general.
Like any virus, bug or glitch, many liken a faulty piece of technology to something they simply cannot control, and with Unfriended, it is very much the case as the spirit of a suicidal victim from a viral video seeks her revenge by joining the group of teens as they chat over the web on the anniversary of her death.
Although the concept is minimalistic, the cast is unknown and the budget appears to have been acquired from the back of a lounge room couch, the themes explored in Unfriended are very affecting and profound, particularly to the younger generation. This cyber thriller is very much a cautionary tale that drives home how important it is not to get involved with bullying in general, but more specifically, cyber bullying; a medium that is more free, unforgiving and anonymous.
The cast pays for their misdemeanours and it’s hard to find anything to really care for within them, however the writing is clever in the sense that these online profiles of people on a screen are developed into three-dimension characters with history, feelings and significant arks.
The way in which you watch Unfriended will be highly impactful on how you experience it. Where some film demand the biggest screen imaginable to truly capture and appreciate every aspect of the adventure and effects, Unfriended lends itself seamlessly to the small screen of a laptop.
Watching it on a computer (preferably a Mac) will enhance the experience of the film and create a really unsettling atmosphere once it finishes. Feeling as if you’re an intruder that is eavesdropping on these people’s conversation whilst being a helpless audience member all the same creates a strange parallel within the realness and fictitiousness of the story.
The subtleties work in the film’s favour as well. The true sounds of Apple products, Skype calls and Facebook all add to the familiarity of the story, whilst the video quality glitches and freezes like a normal conversation would. It may appear lazy from the outside looking in, but Unfriended has taken all the lazy, underdeveloped and tiresome tropes of found-footage horror and skewed them to its advantage.
Unnerving, suspenseful and a real surprise package, Unfriended is one of the better examples of how modern horror films can achieve something truly commendable. The characters are rather unoriginal, and the storyline is one-dimensional, but the writing and structuring of the film really works in the favour of Unfriended.
It’s a recommendation to younger generations as it heavily focuses on the dangers of Internet activity, all the while being a straight-up teenage horror/thriller romp.
Unfriended is the chilling reminder that clearing history won’t erase your past…