Directed by: Leo Gabriadze
Starring: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Moses Storm, Shelley Hennig
A small introduction
“Lets play a game of ‘Never have I Ever.’”
There’s nothing quite like going to the first showing of a new film, and to be the only one in the theatre. To the answer the question of why see this, it was either this or Paul Blart 2. Nuff said.
Unfriended is, simply put, a new twist on the already tired “found footage” genre where instead of someone finding all the footage and editing it back together, we simply observe a character computer for ninety minutes, in what appears to be a single unbroken take. Of course its not one take, but very convincingly put together. The story focuses on five characters as they chat on social media outlets such as Facebook and Skype on the two-year anniversary of the death of someone they knew. Everything seems fine until a weird glitch soon becomes more and more troubling as they realize the glitch is actually the spirit of their dead friend. Unfortunately for them, the spirit is out for vengeance.
The film does a great job at set up, with getting to know our victims and even setting up the mundane everyday things that many of us do on facebook or skype. The problem I have with our “victims” is that they never explain why we should have any sympathy for our characters if they are awful human beings in making someone kill themselves. Even if they gave a reason, it would be extremely hard to get behind horrible people, after all this isn’t 4chan. Sadly when it comes to the actual killing, I found it to be incredibly predictable when the kills would happen and who would be getting the axe, which isn’t stimulating enough to warrant my heart to beat fast.
On the technical side of things I really found this to be an interesting experiment with having the entire film be like one long, unbroken skype call but there again lies the problem of it being feature length. For this idea to be a short film would greatly reduce the strain of having to look at a computer screen and it would also make the plot events move at a faster rate, making the audience not have a moment to breathe, whereas in the actual film, there’s tons of down time and it gives the film an incredibly bloated feeling.
Another issue I have with the idea of a ghost terrorizing five horrible people, is that we have no idea the range of power or what the ghost can’t do. If it could kill them all instantly, why not just do that? If it doesn’t have unlimited power, what are the ranges that it can do? Can it only infect the internet of these five people or the entire world? All these questions and more are never answered or even thought about since our main cast of kids is more worried about what Facebook will say about them.
Unfriended simply is an interesting idea, stretched out too long while not being smart enough for its own good. At this point I would say that the entire script needs a re-write and that our characters have no redeeming value other than to be room meat and to be killed. They offer no role model status and I don’t feel anything when they get killed. Just as an example, at least the kids in Friday the Thirteenth were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, as opposed to being incredible assholes.
In regards to the ending, its incredibly awful. Anything would have been better and if you had to guess as to what happens, you are most likely right. If you are REALLY interested in seeing this film, that was originally supposed to go straight to tv, then I would recommend it as a rental, otherwise stay away.