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Unfriended review

Screen queens...

Our Verdict

The all-Skype gimmick that drives this very modern horror is effective but you’ll need a high tolerance for teenage bullshit (and teenage Spotify playlists) to get through it.

Screen queens...

Let’s get this out of the way: Unfriended is about a killer Skype call. In fact, the entire movie is one long video call (with a few plot-driven visits to Facebook, YouTube and Spotify) held by a group of irritating teenagers you wouldn’t want to spend two minutes with, never mind an hour and a half.

It’s probably the first all-webcam theatrical release, after Joe Swanberg’s similar short in the original V/H/S anthology and Maisie Williams’ Cyberbully on C4. And it won’t be the last.

Unfriended does a bang-up job of exposing the casual cruelties of millennials’ social networking. A group of Breakfast Club-y high-school stereotypes are group chatting together when they notice a rogue profile has joined them – someone has hacked the profile of their deceased friend, a classmate who killed herself after one of them uploaded an embarrassing video of her online. But ghosts don’t use Skype – do they? That’s what our screamy teens have to figure out, as they’re offed, one by one, in messy on-screen splatter sequences.

While computer screen storytelling is utilized effectively, it seems like rather a waste of a cinema screen. Unfriended will make much more sense when watched on a computer, being the self-same place where the film unfolds; watching a screen on a screen mostly serves to highlight just how insular yet distracting modern life has become. Still, even with obnoxious characters and buffering clips, Unfriended delivers a classic narrative in a modern way.

It’ll be hopelessly dated in a few months but, for now, it’s a mean-spirited slasher that feels fresh and raw.

The Verdict

3

3 out of 5

unfriended

The all-Skype gimmick that drives this very modern horror is effective but you’ll need a high tolerance for teenage bullshit (and teenage Spotify playlists) to get through it.

More Info

Theatrical release1 May 2015
DirectorLevan Gabriadze
StarringHeather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm
Available platformsMovie