Unfriended is a 2015 horror film that can be said to be the first ever cyber horror film which is probably going to be very influential in decades to come. As for its quality, it is a solid film, but more of an interesting experience than an actually good movie.
It follows a Skype conversation between a group of teenagers where suddenly a profile of a dead girl starts to harass them because they wrote mean things about her after she died. This is definitely a high-concept idea, much like what ‘The Blair Witch Project‘ did with the found-footage genre back in 1999. But unlike that overrated film, Unfriended for the most part works. It really does. I like the attention to detail that went into production. They recreated literally the whole conversations on the internet, the sounds, the clicks, the multiple windows and the introduction of Facebook and YouTube beside Skype is really well done. This is one of the rare recent films that actually address the current time and show you how we are obsessed with the internet. I also liked how it deals with cyber bullying, cyber texting and how it shows what one stupid night can do to a teenager. It also shows how despicable they can be at this age, especially online where they feel safer. However, the movie just pinpoints to those problems, never properly exploring them and just touching the surface. But the overall inclusion of those themes, no matter how little they get explored, is stupendous for this genre.
Unfriended was not scary in my opinion. It did not frighten me or anything like that. But what is commendable is its incorporation of psychological horror in its first half. That was great as there are a couple of scenes that are quite unnerving and wonderfully executed, affecting you on a psychological level. I really loved that aspect of this film as horrors these days mostly forget that what you don’t show is more frightening than what you show and jump scares. Unfortunately, the second half ruined it for me and that I totally was expecting. Whereas the first half is smart and realistic, the second half is everything but. It just goes to that stupid paranormal, supernatural and gory territory which I really did not appreciate. The characters also started to cry and yell a lot which was super annoying and the whole supernatural angle is just so frustrating because this movie would have been great if it just stayed in the realistic, more psychological territory. But thankfully the ending was good and quite memorable and satisfying.
The characters and the acting are expectedly subpar. All of the characters are typical annoying and despicable teenagers that barely get any development, but it suits this movie as it realistically portrays them. They should have just gotten some development. As for the acting, it is pretty weak to be honest with the exception of the lead actress. She really did quite a solid job and helped the movie a lot because others are poor actors.
The movie is light on actual scares, but it is nonetheless pretty unnerving at times. The editing is mostly good apart from the abrupt beginning. But overall, it is a tightly edited movie that has just the right amount of running time. I also liked the movie’s realism in earlier parts and it is overall well directed. It is predictable, but it succeeds because it is so authentic and original, possibly even groundbreaking.