A social media thriller. So this is about a group of high schoolers, getting on a group Skype call. There is a mysterious person without any picture that they can’t hang up on. The entire group becomes increasingly alarmed when a deceased classmate starts contacting them from her old Facebook account, and even more so when they realize that today is the anniversary of when she killed herself due to being a victim of cyberbullying. Now I will be the first to admit, on paper, not only does this sound overly lazy, but it seems like it is taking low-budget films to the next level, and by next level I mean even cheaper. I am not exaggerating when I say that the entirety of this film takes place on a teenager’s MacBook, which is appropriate, given the subject matter at hand, but trying to sell this to somebody as an exciting thriller is a bit of a challenge.
Believe it or not, this is actually the next logical step for the found footage movie. How many times have you watched a shaky-cam movie and thought, “Who edited this together?” That is a non-issue here, because it is all done live and seamless, which has an additional effect that pulls you in, because this is told in real time. It’s new and innovative, and the editing makes for a continuous scene, as they can cover up everything with lag time effects. Because of the excellent editing, it actually ends up making time pass on this very quickly, and thirty minutes had gone by before I knew it. If you are somebody who has trouble not looking at your phone during a movie, this is actually the perfect film for you.
Unfriended is a very unique film that actually has a lot of good points about cyberbullying. It’s tense, and with the resources they had at their disposal, that is nothing short of an achievement. It has a lot of commentary about high schoolers and social media, and it’s not something that I was not expecting. This has an I Know What You Did Last Summer vibe to it, and almost all of the chills come from the story; they did this girl so dirty in this, and there is a tilt in the middle of this that changes your perception entirely. I don’t want filmmakers to take this as a queue to start scrimping and cutting corners with the budget, but for this one film, they did everything right.
Unfriended (2015) ****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2015? See for yourself here.