Movie Review: Unfriended (2015)
Unfriended is a horror film that combines the feel of a teen slasher film with some similarities to the found footage category to create a very unique genre, and in my opinion, it was pretty risky. I am not aware of another film that has you looking at a computer screen for the entire time, and at first it may seem boring, looking in on a Skype call for almost an hour and a half but i have to say it did work for most of this movie. Now the first portion of the movie did take a little too long, the whole setting up of the characters and their relationships was ok in trying to get you to love/hate certain characters but it was a bit of a slow burn at the beginning. But once stuff begins to get weird i could feel the suspense building, and those looking for a quick build up of suspense, you aren’t going to get that here, because they tease things out for a little while.
Unfortunately this film wasn’t all that scary, it was definitely suspenseful and got pretty intense at some moments but it didn’t do much to terrify me. And the first thing people will say is that it is because it was like found footage, well, they’re not wrong, it definitely has the look of a found footage film through the Skype cameras but there is not a single found footage cliche to be found and that made it much more bearable to watch. Jump-scares also stay away from this film, there are one or two moments but nothing so obviously put in to make you jump. And surprisingly for a horror film full of an unknown cast, the performances were all done very well, now sure, all they have to do is sit in front of a camera and talk, but if it wasn’t done right it could have easily come off as obvious acting. But they were convincing enough to believe that they were actually going through that.
So with this film being limited to a single computer screen i think the director and writers did a great job at maintaining suspense right until the very end. Unfortunately i thought it ended a little abruptly and the payoff wasn’t as great as i had hoped but still made for a somewhat enjoyable film. One major negative i had a problem with was the inclusion of the constant Skype call issues including, stuttering, screen tearing, and momentary disconnects. Now some of these were obviously by design and some i am not sure about but they really irritated me constantly throughout the movie just as they do in a real call. They killed the suspense momentarily and took me out of the film, so whether it was by design or due to Skype limitations i think the film would have done better without all that. So, if you like horror films, i think this is a fresh take on the found footage slasher film that was i think a risk well taken and you should enjoy, especially if you don’t mind a more slower pace.
Also, will this computer screen focused type of film take off with its own sub genre? I don’t think so, mainly because after seeing the movie there isn’t really much more you could do with this style without rehashing the same beats. If someone finds a way to take this further then great but i would rather this stay as a one off unique style of horror (but i doubt it) – 6