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Review: Unfriended

Unfriended
04.14.2015
7 10
UNFRIENDED was previously reviewed at the Fantasia Film Festival, where it was screened under the name CYBERNATURAL. The film may have changed slightly since then. This review reflects the original cut.

PLOT: A gang of skyping teenagers are terrorized by an anonymous user that’s somehow connected to a former classmate who committed suicide after one of them posted an embarrassing video of her online.

REVIEW: UNFRIENDED is nothing if not timely. One of the problems with social media is that, while bullying used to end at school, with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more, It can continue online. It seems like every other week that we read about a teen who committed suicide after a vicious video was posted leaked to the web, with those responsible often getting off with a slap on the wrist as no one seems to know exactly how to punish cyber-bullying.

So along comes UNFRIENDED, a film that boldly, takes place completely on a computer screen through Skype windows, Facebook chat, and cameos by Spotify, LiveLeak, Google Chrome and more. Having a horror story unfold completely through the use of social media is a novel approach, and less contrived than you might think. The fact is, many of us are glued to our computers every night, and the Skype Video chat is the defacto way for teens to call each other, so it figures something about this phenomenon would finally be made.

While a straight-up horror flick, UNFRIENDED makes a good point, in that once something goes viral it’s more-or-less out there permanently, and next to impossible to take back. A careless, spur-of-the-moment decision by a bully has the potential to destroy lives now, and UNFRIENDED can’t help but feel like a little big-screen payback for cyber-bullies everywhere. The only downside to this is that the teens involved come off as absolutely despicable, so rather than invest in any of them emotionally; you’ll be actively rooting against them.

Then again, that very thing makes UNFRIENDED a lot of fun, and director Levan Gabriadze does a good job ratcheting up the tension, making this an effective slow burn. While presumably done on a small budget, the small-scale makes it seem all the more real, with Skype pixilation, choppy connections and more all playing a part. While it’s probably a little light on the gore, this will still probably scare the hell out of teens everywhere.

Fitting the technique, the performances all feel pretty natural – for better or worse – with the “teenspeak” feeling authentic, meaning lots of “likes” and tantrums, even before people start dying. The issue of “why don’t they just turn off their computers” is addressed early on, with the script by Nelson Greaves (a protégé of Timur Bekmambetov – who produced) making you understand why the teens who go along with the user’s threats beyond morbid curiosity.

One thing that will be interesting is to see how UNFRIENDED plays with a crowd. For the purposes of this review, the studio sent a Vimeo link which – for me anyways – made this all the more effective as I was actually watching it on my laptop, which just might be the ideal way to see it. That said, apparently the sold-out screening at the Fantasia Film Festival went so well that additional screenings are being added, making one think that this has the potential to be something of a sleeper hit. While not perfect, UNFRIENDED is nonetheless a clever spin on the found footage genre, and a tight little horror flick that’s good for a solid scare or two.

Source: JoBlo.com

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10:01AM on 04/15/2015

Modern Family

Will be interesting to see if they can hold an audiences attention. There was a modern Family episode on a month or so ago that did this, but I found myself a little tired of the gimmick half way through
Will be interesting to see if they can hold an audiences attention. There was a modern Family episode on a month or so ago that did this, but I found myself a little tired of the gimmick half way through
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8:16AM on 04/15/2015
Someone should make a horror movie that looks like a pirated DVD shot on standard film then played on a big screen then shot again using a handycam, which will then be pirated IRL when the movie is released on theaters.
...
Yeaaah my comment had nothing to do with this movie.
Someone should make a horror movie that looks like a pirated DVD shot on standard film then played on a big screen then shot again using a handycam, which will then be pirated IRL when the movie is released on theaters.
...
Yeaaah my comment had nothing to do with this movie.
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6:51AM on 04/15/2015

Interested in this because it is R

Seems like your run of the mill teen flick but the R rating, if used right, may elevate the material past the crap we are used to watching. I won't pay movie going price for this but will check it out when it comes out on video
Seems like your run of the mill teen flick but the R rating, if used right, may elevate the material past the crap we are used to watching. I won't pay movie going price for this but will check it out when it comes out on video
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+0
5:24AM on 04/15/2015
Definitely needed a better title.
Definitely needed a better title.
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9:48AM on 04/15/2015
Sequel will be "unfriended: poked"
Sequel will be "unfriended: poked"
12:28PM on 04/15/2015
It was originally called Cybernatural.
It was originally called Cybernatural.
2:18AM on 04/15/2015
I'm interested in seeing this.
I'm interested in seeing this.
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12:53AM on 04/15/2015
6/10 is much better than I expected but this doesn't look like my cup of tea.
6/10 is much better than I expected but this doesn't look like my cup of tea.
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12:43AM on 04/15/2015
So will the sequel be "Why Wont You Accept My Friend Request" followed by "Re-Unfriended" ?
So will the sequel be "Why Wont You Accept My Friend Request" followed by "Re-Unfriended" ?
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6:19AM on 04/15/2015
Whilst an x-rated version might have poke in the title. :o)
Whilst an x-rated version might have poke in the title. :o)
9:50AM on 04/15/2015
Damnit I made a poke joke. Gotta start reading comments from the bottom
Damnit I made a poke joke. Gotta start reading comments from the bottom
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