Apparently there were two low-budget horror movies made by young lovers of the horror genre that came out in 2014. Originally titled Cybernatural; Unfriended is directed by Levan Gabriadze, written by Nelson Greaves, and stars: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm (what a name), Will Peltz, and Renee Olstead. During a group Skype call, a girl named Blaire (Hennig) and her five friends begin to receive messages from a mysterious person that claims to have the account of Laura Barnes. This is scary because Laura committed suicide a few years ago because of cyberbullying. As the call goes on, the messages get more and more threatening, until billie227 (the mystery account) directly threatens their lives.
I’ll begin with saying that this title is just stupid. Cybernatural is somewhat creepy, but Unfriended just reminds me of Facebook; not the kind of thing you want your audience thinking of before they watch a horror movie. That being said, I actually enjoyed this movie (much to my surprise), so I’ll begin with the positives. For one, all the actors do really well! So well in fact, I’d compare their performances to the cast in Insidious. Another pleasant surprise would be the scares. Admittedly, half of them are jump scares, but this movie actually had some fantastic moments of suspense and used some pretty clever editing techniques to create some really terrifying frights. The final positive is the story (more specifically, the ideas). I know that the “tortured kid seeking revenge” is a bit of a cliché; however this movie incorporates that into the realm of the Internet. As the movie progresses, you see why Laura killed herself in more detail, and there are even a few decent plot twists here and there that kept me invested.
The negatives in this film are ones I hardly expected from this movie. For instance, it takes a good half hour for the movie to really get going, and those 30 minutes are just annoying. Of course it doesn’t help that EVERY character is a cliché. There’s the innocent virgin brunette, the jerk/violent friend, the awkward love interest to the brunette, the annoying joke maker, and the floozy blonde girl. There is even a full five minutes devoted to the characters insulting each other with the most annoying voices possible (High School Musical levels of terrible dialog). The other thing would be the second half of the story. I’m not giving anything away when I say that Laura is now a vengeful spirit; what’s bad about that is the movie never explains why or how that happens. I understand that this was cheaply made, but if you are going to go into something as complicated as the “spirit world” premise for your movie, some info would be appreciated.
I was ready to hate this film, but after much thought I have come to the conclusion that this does not suck. Yeah, it has its flaws, but as it went on, I grew to like it. Would I watch this again? Maybe. Would I buy it? No. It Follows has a much better premise and characters, but Unfriended has better scares and actors who did convince me they were being attacked. This gets Guy’s Guru Grade of a C+.