Yesterday it was Halloween, the perfect night for a horror film. Since an amazing horror set arrived only yesterday, I had a lot of films to choose from! I choose a film which was released only a few weeks ago: Unfriended.
After a video of a drunken and passed out Laura Barns went viral, she committed suicide. Nobody seemed to know who made the video or put it online. Exactly one year later, a group of friends organise a Skype session. Soon they realise there’s also another person in their online chat room as well. It doesn’t take long before the friends find themselves haunted by this mysterious person. This person, or supernatural force, uses the account of their dead friend Laura and confronts the group with their dirty little secrets.
Unfriended, also known as Cybernatural, is a so called ‘Found Footage film’ and has an original and actual concept. An online video which is the basis of a suicide of a Highschool student. Not so long after I saw the trailer for the first time, I read about the suicide of a Canadian student. The film is also inspired by some true cases. So therefore I thought the film could be really interesting and less of a super scary horror film. I also have never seen a film where you are continually looking at a computer screen. You never see an actual character, only through the screen and therefore it’s like you’re the character Blaire, since we are ‘on’ her laptop. A critical note, the Skype/ Facebook conversations are quite small. Sometimes I had to scoop towards the television to read the texts better.
The five friends in the chat room are Blaire (Shelley Hennig), her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), the blond popular girl Jess (Renee Olstead), the techie Ken (Jacob Wysocki), and Adam (Will Peltz). Also in the chat room is the faceless account named ‘Billie227’. For a long time he/she doesn’t say a thing and the group try to get rid of the person. When they think another girl from school, Val (Courtney Halverson), is just messing with them,they add her to the chat session as well. Facebook pages are getting ‘hacked’ mysteriously and Blaire gets weird messages and a link to an Instagram post. Untill this point it’s still very plausible and intriguing, not scary or such. Some unknown creeper hacks different accounts to set things in motion. I was really caught up in the story at this point.
After the weird events at Ken’s and Val’s house, the group is freaked out. They learn who the account ‘Billie227’ is, the very angry spirit of Laura Barns who desperately wants to terrorize this group of friends, freak them out and make them expose their secrets by playing the game ‘Never have I ever’. And they do freak out and learn a lot more about their so called friends. Their reactions and state of anger is really believable. But on the other hand, you don’t really care about them nor if they live or die. You see, the one who loses the game, or ‘hangs up’, gets killed. And that is where things get silly, in my opinion. A ghost who can hack computers, Facebook profiles and make people want to kill themselves? Nope, that’s not working for me. The ending was even the worst part of the film. Where you could expect a ‘jump scare’, I was laughing out loud.
The way Unfriended is made and the concept of the story is quite original and interesting. Although, sometimes I had some trouble with reading the conversations. I could have lived with a hacker who wants to let the people pay for what they did, but not with an evil ghosts who wants revenge. And certainly not with these weird kind of suicides. Blaire, played by Shelley Hennig, gives a great performance and her reactions and feelings are very credible. The other actors as well, but it might be a bit screamy. The film is never scary like a horror is supposed to be, but some moments might grab you. Let’s put it this way, it really isn’t that bad.