Unfriended Review

The Plot

A group of friends gather online on the anniversary of their friend, Laura’s, death. But things turn dark when Laura starts contacting them online in search of the person who killed her.

The Good

One of the most interesting aspects of this latest sub-genre of the found footage film, which uses a computer desktop as the films ‘setting’, is the idea of an online profile being used as a portal for the dead to communicate. No more ouija boards, now we have message boards or, in this case, Facebook walls, YouTube and Skype profiles for ghosts and ghouls to scare us with. While it doesn’t sound very scary at first, Unfriended occasionally gets under your skin, particularly as Laura begins to message the main character, Blaire.

The Bad

Unfriended is the first widely released film in this new format of desktop based found footage horror, after previous smaller attempts in films such as Open Windows and The Den. And considering it’s cheap budget of $1 million has already been reclaimed (and then some) in its opening weekend, it won’t be surprising to see more like this pop up from now on. It’s just a shame that the novelty intrigue and excitement of watching a film unfold on a computer screen will already be lost by the time the credits roll in Unfriended.

Part of the problem with this format is the sheer size of the screen. Sure, it’s easy enough to watch a computer screen for 80 odd minutes, but when it’s projected onto a cinema screen, everything seems far too big and at some points, far away. Throughout the film, facebook notifications pop up in the top right hand corner which, on a normal laptop is easy enough to flick your eyes to, to quickly read. When it’s in the cinema however, you almost have to crane your neck sideways to catch a glimpse of it, which somewhat takes you out of the action which for the most part, tends to unfold on one particular area.

Then there are the characters. For the first 20 minutes or so, they’re nothing too engrossing, but as soon as one piece of (potentially spoilerific) information is revealed, any interest or even sympathy for the characters will instantly vanish. Suddenly you’ll probably start to take Laura’s side…

Ultimately Unfriended’s worst crime is that thanks to a tiny budget and low production values it’s obscene box office success will cause an inevitable and utterly unwelcome flood of unnecessary sequels and lazy imitators. But then it’s hardly the first time low budget horror films have inflicted that on audiences thanks to a little undeserved box office success.

The Ugly Truth

Unfriended is undeniably one of the most gimmicky gimmick’s to ever gimmick. While Open Windows has some fun with it’s desktop setting, Unfriended strips all its potential away and leaves behind a bare storyline that offers some interesting ideas but never delves deep enough into them, instead settling for the usual lazy jump scares that we’re so very accustomed to.

Leave A Comment