Thoughts on Unfriended (2014)

Welcome to the new trend in horror! Living in a technology obsessed world its no surprise that this brand new cyber found footage movie will be hitting cinema screens this year. Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended is marketed as and looks set to be this generation’s Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project taking the found footage format to the next level, through the eyes of social media. In this case Skype and video sharing. While the trailer appears to give far too much away, the basic plot centres on a group of friends who are stalked online by ‘someone’ or ‘something’ using the account of their dead friend.

unfriended

 

The trailer does reveal some disturbing moments and will play out as a metaphor for us living our lives through the internet. Online we can be whoever we want to be, we construct our social media profiles to give a certain perception of how we want others to view us. We also expose ourselves to verbal abuse (aka. trolling) and stalking (although that’s what the block button is for!); these themes are ideal for the modern horror movie but its dependent on whether filmmakers will use these ideas and do them well. The last cyber-horror movie I reviewed, Antisocial was a disappointment and Unfriended has already been compared to a 2013 film titled The Den in the sense of their very similar, so its potentially lacking any originality. However a phenomenal, Argentinian short film was screed at the Abertoir Horror Festival in 2014, titled Alexia which used the social media horror concept incredibly well, balancing the suspense and scares while making a profound comment on the subject matter. This is also where I’m on the fence as while I’ve seen cyber-horror be the perfect subject for a short, can it translate well to a feature without becoming repetitive and obvious? On the plus side at least its moving the found footage sub-genre away from lazy shaky cam nonsense.

The problem I’m having with the concept of Unfriended is that it could be somewhat predictable, its already revealed that its a potential haunting film (the original title was Cybernatural– so its pretty much a given), it also shows some of the character deaths, so unless there’s some amazing twist in store I highly doubt my attention will be held. Another problematic aspect is it claiming to be ‘frightening and real’, if its entering the supernatural route then its just an extension of reality therefore its slightly odd to claim that the events could realistically happen. I do feel sort of bad writing off a movie like this but undoubtedly I’ll be giving it a chance and hopefully it will defy expectations. The The 7.1 IMDB rating looks pretty hopeful. For my UK followers, Unfriended will be skyping its way onto cinema screens on May 1st!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

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