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Unfriended (2015)

| April 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Oh lord . . . how long till Avengers?

Unfriended is unwatchable, a product of towering dullness wrapped in a gimmick that doesn’t work, packed with people you wouldn’t want to spend five minutes with. It’s a colossal miscalculation of character and tension built on a flimsy idea and padded out by technological glitches that don’t build tension so much as get on your nerves.

I admit, the ad campaign had me sort of intrigued – I looks like a new idea – a Skype horror movie. Well, I can say I’ve never seen that idea played out before. Actually, it’s the same dreck I’ve seen over and over, it’s just another found footage movie broken up into six screens so that we watch six people having a video conversation, and die one by one.

I had hope, maybe because my senses within the genre have been recently (and temporarily) altered for the better. Having been dazzled by the freshness and skill of the recent It Follows, I walked into Unfriended with something resembling a hopeful heart. That earlier film, about a girl who is given a curse by her boyfriend after having sex with him in his car was a welcomed drink of water in a genre that is mostly an arid desert. Watching Unfriended is like having a mouthful of sand.

It goes something like this: Recently, a party girl named Laura went out got drunk, passed out and defecated in her pants. A fellow party goer took a video of her humiliation and posted it on the internet from which came a volley of cyber-bullying so severe that she ended up committing suicide.

The entire movie is made up of six screens that make up a six-party video chat. Our main character (I think) is Blaire (Shelley Hennig), talking with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm) and four friends: Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob wysocki), Adam (Will Peltz), and eventually Val (Courtney Halverson). Also online is a mysterious presence that goes by the name billie227. No one can identify this stranger and all attempts to rid themselves of the unwelcomed visitor come to nothing.

What follows is a textbook of every single manner of irritating your audience that you can imagine. From buffering to incessant typing to screen blips and flashes. billie227 plays games with their sanity and with their honesty by posting humiliating videos of cheating, and other bits of truth telling that break down their trust in each other.  Much of this movie, you should know, is made up of people screaming before they meet a horrible (not to mention ridiculous) end – one guy is seen briefly with his hand in a whirring blender.

The gimmick might not be so bad if the participants weren’t all screaming, self-centered bores. None of these people are worth spending time with. None of them have any real personality and when they die you really don’t miss them. Then the movie comes to a baffling, nonsensical ending, a jump-scare that pulls the rug out from other whatever ground has been gained the past 80 minutes.

Unfriended is a depressing experience made by people who don’t seem to have any real idea of what movies are suppose to be about. It is a movie made by committee, from people who concoct movies by gimmicks and commercial plugs, not by any sense of entertainment or giving the audience any kind of real experience. It’s a hammered together project that seems based on what’s popular at the moment. This is rank cynicism of the worst kind.

If you must see a horror movie this week, go see It Follows. That movie has style and a sense of characters, and a plot we care about. Sure, it’s ridiculous and silly, but you come away feeling as if you’ve seen something new. Unfriended is the kind of movie that just ruins the rest of your day.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2015) View IMDB Filed in: Horror, Recent