I like horror films, but I think my reviews have shown I’m not a big fan of gimmicky films. Unfriended is shown completely through a character’s computer screen as she navigates the web, video chats with friends, messages her boyfriend, and performs other computer tasks. Coincidently, I just saw an episode of Modern Family that used this same gimmick, and I thought worked a little better on that episode then it did here. I was never scared and that disappoints me for a horror film. I give Unfriended the Not a Total Waste of Time rating.
Unfriended has some cool aspects, but not great overall.
Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is ready to spend the night chatting with friends, but their dead friend Laura (Heather Sossaman) somehow joins the Skype group chat. If that wasn’t spooky enough things start going bad as it is revealed Laura wants to know who posted the video that led her to committing suicide.
Director Levan Gabriadze does a decent job constructing the film. The unique style doesn’t do a good job building atmosphere or showing us what’s happening. It’s innovative for sure, but I’m not sure it managed to live up to the genre. Some of the technology didn’t seem to translate well to the timing the film was trying to create. For example, Laura seemed to just wait for Blaire to do whatever she was doing before continuing through with her revenge plan.
It is well acted by a series of relative unknowns. Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Moses Storm, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, and Renee Olstead all star. They manage to seem genuinely scared and believable as teenagers, even though a few are in their late 20s. They didn’t have to do too much except yell and scream, but it did fit the tone.
The premise is scarier than the film manages to get across. It wasn’t all bad. However, I watched a small picture file take thirty seconds to download while the computer had three video chats going. Those didn’t seem to be lagging at all. That’s a continuity error. Another issue when the timing matters and the technology is faster than you want the reveal to be.