In a time where most horror movies completely suck and the ones that are good only play in one cinema, here comes Unfriended in its wide release glory. Taking place entirely over a Skype conversation, Unfriended follows the story of Blaire Lily (Shelly Hennig). When talking with her high school friends online one night, their chat is interrupted by an anonymous presence. At first they presume its a glitch, but soon enough their glitch begins to talk, claiming to be Laura Barns (Heather Sossamon), their old friend who killed herself exactly one year ago, and that's where the real fun begins.
Unfriended is a rare, low budgeted horror movie that shouldn't work, but does. In similar style to one of the short films in 2012's V/H/S, the film takes place entirely on a computer screen. We start there and we end there, never cutting away to the outside world. The story is told through Skype, iMessage, Facebook and various other social medias and websites. Having this provides a unique spin on the horror genre. It's not the be all and end all of cinema and it certainly won't go down as a classic in the same way that The Shining and The Exorcist did (it probably won't even be nearly as talked about as recent films such as the Paranormal Activity series either), but it's a fun, creepy 83 minute long movie that's much better than anyone expected it to be, myself included.
There's some really solid tension to be found in Unfriended. Tension that's been lacking in most modern horror movies. It's a slow moving film with very little characters, but it utilises this, making the low budget worth while. It uses its lack of a cast to build up the tension and show us the bonds these characters have, or even the literal tension between them. Sure, none of them are all that developed and a few are there to literally just be killed, but the ones that last the longer get a lot of development and their true colours really shine late into the movie.
It's during this third act where the movie pulls out its greatest trick. Without spoiling what, the remaining characters are forced into a drinking game, except the stakes are much higher than a sip of alcohol. It's here we learn more about who they are, their relationships and their history, and upon every reveal, the stakes just continue to grow. My heart was pounding as we see their timer go down, each one of them vulnerable. It's suspenseful stuff and it works really well.
It's just the pay offs that are a bit of a let down. We get several minutes of nerve wracking suspense, only to be given a few half second flashing images and then the game starts all over again. Once things get heated, I could start to pick together who does what and who's going to die next, although to be honest, I wasn't 100% sure I was right. It was just suspicions, and I guess that's what horror does best. It makes you prepare to be scared, and sometimes you are, sometimes you aren't. It's what I love about this genre. The engagement.
As entertaining as this movie is, I don't feel like I will ever need to rewatch it. I don't feel like it's a movie to come back to again, simply because it just won't be as frightening the second time around. Since you know the final outcome, all suspense is thrown out the window, and I feel the only thing that would motivate me to keep watching would be the graphic deaths, but even they aren't too horrific. It's a one-time watch and that one time was good enough for me. Now, time to delete my Facebook account to ensure that this never ever happens to me.
To sum up, Unfriended is an entertaining and rather chilling film you only need to watch once. Not because it's overly graphic or uncomfortable to watch, but simply because it relies on you not knowing what's coming next, and I guess that's what I enjoyed most about it too.