Horror is a genre in which many directors have come to get their beaks wet. Some have tried and gone on to bigger and better things (James Wan) and others have gone to the wayside. There are an abundance of horror films put out in the last five years that have tried to capitalize on the found footage trend that “Blair Witch” set back in 1999. We’ve had some hits (Paranormal Activity) and some misses (all the other Paranormal sequels). We’ve yet to come upon a new fresh take on this sub genre.
Unfriended hit theaters on April 17 and has a hot and relatively unknown cast of characters. The film takes place in its entirety on the MacBook of our lead Blair played by Shelley Henning. As the lead of this cast of maybe 6 she really puts the film on her back, in my opinion all the other actors were very cartoony and over the top. Her performance was grounded and she emoted like any high school teen would if in this situation. Even if cartoony the other actors were watchable and didn’t take me out of the film to much. We find out about our other cast of characters through their Skype conversations amongst each other. All cardboard cut outs. We have a slut, doucebag, chubby, and our two innocent leads (so we think). All is hunky dory until the Skype account of Laura Barns comes into play. Our dead cyber bulling victim. The user of the account begins to pick off our cast one by one and BANG. There’s your movie!
For a movie that takes place pretty much on one screen, I felt a great deal of suspense. You’re into the film from the beginning. Watching Blair navigate the web not knowing what’s going to pop up in the next tab. Also the use of the pings from the messenger on Facebook, the swoosh of the iMessage really added a great deal of uneasiness. You’re uncertain what the next message will read or what is in the file the characters will soon open. I commend the director Levan Gabriadze for keeping the tension rising throughout and the use of technology here.
However I do have some gripes with the film. A couple of decisions made by characters boarders on asinine. In one scene a character knows if they reveal something someone will die. The character revels it anyway. Why? We only have 80 minutes that’s why. At this point I’m nitpicking.
So Unfriended while predictable and cliched, is still original enough to get by and filled with tension and suspense. I say it’s worth a watch.