Sunday, November 1, 2015
2015 October Horror Challenge #100 "Unfriended"
I really wanted to see this movie when it first came out, I was all excited, because I like found footage flicks, and this one looked cool. I planned to buy the DVD as soon as it came out. Then the reviews came in, and everyone started saying how bad this movie is, and it gave me pause. Usually I like movies everyone else hates, so I probably should have ignored the bad reviews, but I'm poor now, so I can't afford to run out and buy every horror movie that comes out like I used to, so I decided to wait and rent it.
I was told that this is the first movie that takes place "entirely on someone's computer screen," and I thought that was hyperbole, but no, no, it really does take place entirely on a teen girl's computer screen. The plot of the movie is familiar in some ways, but handled in a way I've never seen before: some teenage friends are skyping (video conference calling of a sort) and there's a mysterious person in the chat with them that won't show his face and none of them can hang up on him, though they keep trying.
It's the one-year anniversary of a girl's auicide, a girl they all knew from school, who was cyber-bullied before her death. Soon, they start getting strange messages from the dead girl, who seems to know secrets about all of them and seems to know what they're doing and even what they're thinking. Soon the taunting turns dangerous. Will they be able to stop whatever's happening before it turns deadly?
The novelty here really isn't in the plot, we've all probably seen a movie where the horrible teens hide secrets that are exposed as they begin to be stalked by a killer. What's new about this movie is how the story is presented: a girl just hanging out online, chatting with friends, looking things up on her computer, listening to music, all normal until it slowly turns deadly.
This is a horror movie for a new generation of teens who hang out online instead of in-person, who Skype instead of talking on the phone, who look up details of news stories about the dead girl who's stalking them online instead of going to the library. It's the same kind of movie: a killer reaches out to them and things they thought of as normal suddenly become scary and dangerous, it's just presented in a new format. I liked it. I didn't like the teens, but we're not really supposed to like them, and the actors do pretty well with the characters.
I don't agree with the viewers who say the teens are stupid and should just leave, the movie addresses that, they wise up pretty soon to the fact that something's wrong, but every time they try to leave, someone gets hurt. I suppose this movie isn't for everyone, but I liked seeing it take a fresh approach to a story we may have heard before. It was a fun watch.