Unfriended (2015)

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A technological fright fest, this found footage horror employs the technique of laptop shot shocks to create a supernatural and modern twist on the slasher-esque genre. Just from seeing the trailer I was up for this film and seeing the concept play out in full doesn’t disappoint, it has some problems but it’s a neat entry into a new arena of movie making.

One year after Laura Barns’ suicide, we see Blaire (Shelley Hennig) and her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm) discuss prom and their relationship over Skype, before they’re joined by their friends and some blank caller whose profile won’t budge. As they deteriorate in secrets and terror, it becomes clear that a video leading to Laura’s suicide is driving this video chat intruder to pick the mates off one by one until they found out who posted the material online.

Expanding on found footage tropes, once exciting in the early era for ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and then stale in the endless runs of ‘Paranormal Activities’, this movie strides in the former, utilising on the world’s love of social media and technology to tell this story. It happens in real time which is cool, from the beginning to the end we stay with Blaire’s views on it all and hopping from Skype to Facebook and Youtube this movie encapsulates the way people connect nowadays and squeezes it with a deathly frightening edge.

It truly feels like you sitting in on this 83 minute long conversation and twisted game. Voyeurism is pushed to the max as we see not only these friends interact but watch the videos of Laura that leads to her account stalking them all. It’s certainly no Modern Family ‘Connection Lost’ episode, the joys of Mac surfing are tested to extremities as their video call is terrorized by a nasty evil anonymous figure. Levan Gabriadze makes this film flow and though it’s a stretched gimmick it suits the plot really well.

There are a slight few stumbling blocks, such as the often quiet friends who say nothing while Blaire’s off surfing pages of the web, the deaths that do eventually come are in my opinion quite silly not scary, like seeing Final Destination offings ‘blend’ into this film. It does also seem to take a while to get to anything special, the initial introduction of the friends is good and it lets you get comfortable with the internet based visuals but after a while it drags before it excites once more. Also the ending, however abrupt and ghostly was weak, seeing a comeuppance and letting someone pay with life would have been a better choice.

Little flourishes of the sound effects to background links and sidebar imagery helps this film in getting you to go for repeating viewings. It’s not overly scary, it’s another typical feature with jump scare tactics but gladly it doesn’t just rely on them and builds up a substantial amount of tension in a clever Never Have I Ever game which heats things up massively. Another positive aside from tensions and flourishes, is the cheeky comedy wink it has for audiences in the Chatroulette section and the Spotify soundtrack that alludes funnily to what’s happening.

Hennig leads the cast well and delivers the needed scream queen credentials as the quite likable Blaire (nice allusion to the late 90’s Blair Witching footage horror). Jacob Storm doesn’t grow much apart from seeming like the all American boyfriend to rely on for a lot of the movie. Aside from the tech-smart and humorous Ken (Jacob Wysocki) the other friends in the conversation are paper thin and serve as mere bodies for the plot. The creepy white silhouette of billie227 will serve as one great horror killer for a long time.

Submerged in social media, this horror might not be fantastic but it’s certainly tense, dark and an interesting concept that works. You might not look at your computer in the same way again.

7/10

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