When I sat through Unfriended, I kept asking myself whether modern teenagers would really communicate this way. To those that don’t know, the movie in it’s entirety is portrayed through a computer desktop; as in all the characters are communicating through Skype, text messaging, social media messaging or even random chat sites. My argument was that teens would rather communicate face to face rather then link their electronic devices together. But I underestimated how much our youth loves technology and can adapt pretty fast to the new hip thing, and therefore, ready to exploit it as much as possible.
Teenagers may be the best candidates to become tomorrow’s online engineers, but when a smart writer comes to Facebook, we also attract a couple of rotten viruses. I’m not talking about infections to ones software or system, but those bad apples that only want to start a fight or make someone else’s life miserable by bullying them. This cyber bullying epidemic is so much of a problem that the things said about others or worse, videos posted about others, has led to mental problems and even suicides. One case of cyber bullying gets their revenge in the online set, Unfriended.
The movies setting (a computer desktop) takes places on the screen of Blaire, a high scholar who is chatting with her other friends, boyfriend Mitch, alcoholic Adam, guy friend Ken, Jess, and Val. It is the one-year anniversary of the death of a fellow high-scholar, Laura Barnes who committed suicide over an embarrassing video that showed her drunk along with the message ”Kill Ur Self Laura”. The set of kids continue to talk about this, siding with the rest of the internet that the actions against this poor girl were awful. Things get weird when they notice that another person has joined their conversation.
The blank screen that is the sixth person chatting never shows their face, cannot be hung up on, and sends messages demanding justice for Laura. Then Laura’s old Facebook account is re activated with messages demanding that Blaire and the other kids spill their secrets. Blaire simply assumes that one of the other kids may be pulling a sick prank, but that theory is disproved when the ghost hacker starts to spill the secrets for them. None of the kids are allowed to leave their computers, as they must figure out a way to outwit the mysterious sixth caller or answer to their sins.
As I’ve said, I’ve wanted more variety in the horror genre besides constant found footage features. Though this is similar, Unfriended managed to keep me on the edge of my seat. Not because of the scares I was about to face, but for the secret that each teen had to confess to. Unfriended clearly built up their characters and their history behind the cyber bullying death in a smart way that it’s never spoon-fed. The revelation behind our characters is out of order and even with the computer screen facing the audience, we have to pay close attention to know what’s going on.
You know your sitting in an enjoyable movie when the teenagers watching Unfriended with you are loud during the trailer, but do not even peep a whisper during the majority of the film. The people were screaming in my theater, and though not everyone works, I did jump at a few of them. Even the reveal of the hacker was a little weak. I won’t spoil it, but you’d wish it was more techno based then supernatural based. But the scares weren’t the point of the movie; it’s a revenge thriller first and foremost.
I’ll give this four dead online accounts out of five. Perhaps Unfriended will make you think twice before posting an embarrassing photo of someone you know; it just may come back to haunt you!