Unfriended (2015)

A group of online chat room friends find themselves haunted by a
mysterious, supernatural force using the account of their dead friend.

Directed by Leo Gabriadze
Starring Shelley Hennig, Heather Sossaman, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz

I think Modern Family did it first, but nonetheless kudos to Gabriadze for coming up with something original and novel. As if trying to prove a little too hard that they are still down with the kids, MTV comes up with this, a horror flick with a real difference.

Highlighting the culture of today’s yoof, this entire story is played out online, featuring half a dozen friends doing nothing more sinister than chatting online one night, using all that social media and modern technology has to offer. For the uninitiated, this will seem like witchcraft, maybe, but if you’re down with the trumpets, then well, this is like every other night in your own teenagers bedroom. So as mundane as it may seem at first, you cannot argue that this has the element of familiarity about it, and as such, feels a lot closer to home and personal than you might at first expect.

All well and good if you want the bejeezus scared out of you, as nothing is more frightening than something that could actually happen to you too. And at first, this is what it appears to be, until things go all supernatural on us. What initially appears to be an online troll with an axe to grind ends up being something else entirely. Either this will pique your interest, causing you sit upright in your seat, or will have you rolling your eyes at an opportunity missed to do something altogether more unsettling than the usual fare.

Performance wise, I’d have to say I’m not as familiar with the vernacular of the modern teenager as I might be. I do wonder even what my own eldest child is rabbiting on about at times, and he talks proper English, unlike the like drawl of his transatlantic counterparts here, but for most part, the script is mostly legible and the bouts of terror, when they eventually arrive, are convincing enough and it can’t be argued  that it does demand your attention, even if like me, you do find yourself looking for what other bits of information you can glean about the plot that may be hidden in the myriad of windows open on screen.

For the restless and gore hungry, patience is key. The story does take a while to unfold and most of the thrills and twists come in a final hectic final act, which is admittedly well directed and was probably a logistical nightmare to film, so in this instance the project should be applauded

Overall, this was a pleasant surprise (if a horror film ever could be) and more than worth the time taken to view it. I would have trouble trying to convince you of its worthiness with regards to a second viewing, like most modern horror, really, but this most definitely worth watching at least once, if only for the original concept and strong, albeit somewhat clichéd, performances.

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