One night, while teenagers Blaire, Mitch, Jess, Adam, Ken, and Val take part in an online chat session, they are suddenly joined by a user known only as “Billie227.” As Blaire tries to expose Billie’s identity, her friends are forced to confront their deepest, darkest secrets and lies…
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The concept is interesting and i'm surprised how well they managed to sustain a story for that length of time. Unfortunately, it was sold as a horror film, and i'm afraid to say that it's not scary one single minute. This concept could have been fascinating if they had gone with a more social approach, leaving the ghost plot out of it.
The 2013 short Noah was already a good example that it is possible to create interesting movies in this genre. This emulation of our daily screen. For decades, movies had sequences. But now, screens, software, desktops, are so prevalent, that a whole movie can be spent in this environment. The premise of this screen-horror flick seems to be exactely how the characters cannot leave the screen, or they die. How's that?
If there were multiple versions of this same concept, I'm not sure Unfriended would feel particularly original or distinguished, but the idea of a "desktop film" clearly works. In fact, this format even produces some surprising new visual relationships on screen, like the separation of public/private conversations and the cycling of faces around the Skype call.
A film that's odd because its form makes it more immersive to watch on a computer than at a cinema. Though it's a style that's been seen before, it's use here is smart and effective in showcasing malfunctioning media and social apps—the horrors of our age—as foreshadowing devices. Indeed its commentary is that teens are not being punished in a cabin in the woods, but in the internet where their lives now take place.
An effective if derivative found footage polemic vilifying the nature of cyberbullying through a supernatural revenge horror lens. The attention to detail with a creative limitation premise is astonishing. Its build-up of tension through subversive dramatic irony was commendable. Whilst there is little of artistic merit other than the intricacies of computer software glitches, as a genre film, it deserves its place.
I confess that I used to like to see WASP being killed by their own pseudo-perfect surbuban lives during the 70/80/90s. (Although, it was Jason/Freddy/Michael Myers...) Maybe that i'm getting to old for this now, even if it's still a guilty pleasure. Or maybe this kind of "petit malin" stories are obviously wasted by a lack of mise-en-scène cuz the "concept thing" don't do everything...I dunno.
The expression "hive mind" is anything but fatuous as testified to by ... everything ... all day long. But before we started (promiscuously) outboarding our brains and our circuitry cyber-style, we were already our current self, in germinal terms. I was seized by a tremendous excitement watching Unfriended. Its kids are the collective addiction into which I am plugged. They do, however, get a lame comeuppance.
In 6th grade, I once told some girl something, I don't remember what, but I was banished from the "popular" lunch table of dudes (it got out, I gossiped). Never to be spoked to until Senior year (I had my septum pierced by then, so that was cool). That was long before social media. I wish I couldn't wouldn't say it, but this a 1984 fable for whatever the fuck this next generation is called. And, it's stupid fun.