Published on April 17th, 2015 | by gareth0
In the modern age of electronic media, cyber stalking and cyber bullying have driven several young people to take drastic actions including suicide. Bullying has always been an issue in schools but with the ability for tormentors to cyber stalk individuals as well as encourage others to take part in the harassment, it can be hard to find any escape from the relentless attacks. In new film “Unfriended”, the audience learns through video clip that a young student named Laura committed suicide in an attempt to escape a never-ending wave of torment after an unflattering video of her was posted online. One year later the group of friends gather online as is their custom to discuss their lives as well as note the anniversary of Laura’s passing. As the group gathers on Skype may notice a mysterious and unknown person has joined their conference. Despite their attempts they’re unable to get rid of this unknown and so far silent intruder, but one of the girls named Claire starts to receive Facebook messages from Laura’s personal account. Unable to block, ignore, or remove this unwanted individual despite their best efforts, as the group soon find the tables have turned when they’re told that if they should leave the chat dire consequences will follow. At first dismissed as a very tasteless practical joke, when tragedy does strike it begins to give a new level of credence to the significant threat that their unknown chat partner provides.
When the unknown guest reveals that she is indeed Laura and begins to force the remaining students to play a series of games which in turn bring their darkest and deepest secrets to light as well as turning them against one another, the despair and eventually body count begins to rise. While there are moments you can ask questions such as where are the adults in the film which are never really addressed aside from a few police officers, the film does keep you interested even though it is presented entirely through a computer screen with each individual appearing as their own individual windows with other social media applications and computer screens coming and going as the plot dictates.
The film is neither as scary nor violent as one may indicate although it is definitely an R-rated film due to language and subject matter. Much of the graphic nature is shown through quick cutting and low-quality WebCam video that cuts out frequently or lags. The main strength of the film is that it takes an interesting concept to the approach of a killer looking for revenge. The fact that the characters remain in the same room in which they began and never once have any direct contact with each other is an interesting microcosm of how many young people today socialize more through electronics than they do in a face-to-face setting. However is anybody who grew up in the 70s and 80s will tell you, teens tying up phone lines for hours was a common occurrence in many homes throughout the world.
With the cast comprised mostly of unknowns, the film does the best with its premise but never fully develops the scares and suspense that one would expect from such an intriguing premise.
In the end the film can be a difficult watch but at least provides some entertainment for fans provided you can sit through the unusual visual presentation of the film and show patience with some of the leaps of faith that the audience is asked to undergo.
3 stars out of 5.