Sunday, April 19, 2015
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune/FresnoBee (R. Bentley) review
RogerEbert.com (M. Dujsik) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review
Unfriended  (directed by Leo Gebriadze, screenplay by Nelson Greaves) is probably the most formally intriguing American horror movie to come out since the original Paranormal Activity :
The current film plays-out ENTIRELY in the form of skype video chats and facebook messages among friends on the computer screen one of the film's main characters, high schooler Blaire (played by Shelley Henning), one quite evocative evening. For exactly one year before her former BFF, Laura (played by Heather Sossaman), had committed suicide after someone or someones had posted, anonymously, an embarrassing video of her (Laura) on a YouTube-like site.
Well the film begins with Laura surfing the net, clicking-on both the video that had driven Laura to suicide and then a video of Laura actually shooting herself with a pistol in front of their school. Strong stuff ...
Soon enough however, Blaire's attention is taken elsewhere as her boyfriend Mitch (played by Moses Jacob Storm) skypes her and they begin video chatting. It's fairly late in the evening, Blaire's already in her PJs, they're both teens, parents will probably cringe. To the filmmakers' credit, they keep the film, language excepted, in PG-13 territory.
Soon three other friends -- Adam (played by Will Peltz), Ken (played by Jacob Wysocki) and Jess (played by Renee Olstead) -- ring-up, together, inviting Blaire and Mitch to join their chat. Then they decide to ring-up another friend, somewhat an outsider, Val (played by Courtney Halverson) to join the chat as well.
Much, not particularly important, to talk about one evening among friends... 'Cept ... in the midst of their chat, ANOTHER PERSON, with no formal picture as an avatar, joins their chat as well.
Who is this person? "Creepy skype guy" one or another of the teens suggests. But this person seems to know them ... A few clicks to check, it becomes clear that whoever it is, is using deceased Laura's old Facebook acct.
Former BFF Blaire still knows Laura's old FB password, but ... of course, whoever's on it now has changed it.
"Creepy hacker ... GET OFF OF LAURA'S FB ACCT ... THIS IS SO, SO UNCOOL ...!" One or another yells at the uninvited chatter. But of course the uninvited 7th person (!) remains ... lurking ... and occasionally messaging them ever more "messed-up" / disturbing stuff.
Who is that person? Well that's of course the rest of the film. And soon at BF Mitch's suggestion, Blaire's clicking-onto one or another "Unsolved Mysteries" website ... and reading-up, quickly, on receiving "FB messages from the dead (!)" ;-)
Much ensues ...
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed "the cyber-spookiness" of the film. I thought it was done and it certainly kept my attention. And perhaps this film was inevitable in our social media dominated world ... ;-)
So "beware of FB messages coming from the beyond" ;-) and if you get one from someone, ask them how they are doing? Apparently POOR "LAURA" wasn't doing all that well ...
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