Unfriended stretches its 83 minute gimmick about as far as it’ll tolerably go and it helps that it feels somewhat new. The tiny budgeted (a cool million bucks) horror flick takes place entirely on web chat cameras with six teenagers being terrorized by their dead friend who killed herself… with the video of that suicide widely available online.
Revenge appears to be on the mind of the deceased Laura, who messages her former schoolmates and slowly reveals a whole lotta secrets in the process. Our lead is Blaire (Shelley Hennig) and in grand genre fashion, she’s the virgin ready to give that designation up on prom night with Mitch (Moses Storm). He’s another participant of Laura’s unlucky sextet along with the alcoholic dude, the slutty girl and the party girl, and the fat kid. Screenwriter Nelson Greaves knows his cliched scare fest characters and he takes some demented joy in playing around with them.
The pic also takes some amusement with the idea that, in similar titles of yesteryear, you may have yelled at the screen for the teenagers not just running away. This time around, they can’t run away from the tech devices that they’re constantly preoccupied with anyway. You may wish to yell at them for that here, but isn’t that part of the fun? And at least the visual style presented here is a slightly different variation of the found footage sub genre that played itself out.
It’s a credit to the script, unknown actors and direction from Levan Gabriadze that Unfriended has plenty of effectivelty creepy moments. I’ll also give props to its unabashed R rating when so many horror entries go PG-13 these days. Ultimately it can’t help but wear itself out eventually after about an hour. This is well after its anti-bullying message (whether through private message or Facebook message) has been received and then some.
**1/2 (out of four)