Screen Queens: A belated review of Unfriended

Unfriended (2015)

Unfriended (2015)

To celebrate the release of the DVD, I thought I’d do a review of the film.

I had little to no hopes nor interest going into this film, but I came out of it having experienced one of the biggest surprises of the year, a really great horror film that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Set entirely on the computer screen of our protagonist, Blaire, Unfriended tells the story of 5 friends who, during a late night skype chat, are ‘trolled’ by a mysterious user who won’t leave their conversation claiming to be their dead high school friend who, one year ago, killed herself after online bullying.

The fact that it’s set entirely on a screen may put people off because it sounds gimmicky, but in the end it’s really intriguing. No only do you have Skype conversations showing the actors talking, but you have instant messages, Facebook, Spotify etc., all detailing both group and private conversations. You are able to see the way in which the lead character types out a message, then backspaces and writes out another one. In perfectly captures what it’s like to be online, making it feel very natural.

It’s a surprisingly tense film, as there is a slow build up, first the mysterious icon appears, then as things get creepier and creepier the friends are forced to reveal secrets to each other, as the mysterious person controls them in unforeseen ways. There’s a nice atmosphere in the film, from the scene setting music present on Spotify, to the ominous tone and the common sounds of message windows and Skype, that make every ding feel ominous.

Whilst the characters are very cliched, lead heroine, her boyfriend, the asshole/jock, the bitchy one and the geek, their performances are all relatively good. They react to the situations in realistic ways, utilising chatrooms and the internet to naturalistic use. Apparently half of the script wasn’t written at the time of shooting, so their reactions are at least partly genuine to the events happening on screen.

Commendable though, is the editors whose job must have been huge. Everything happens on a screen, every word must be typed, every pop up window precise, everything must be timed realistically, every sound correct. Yet it’s all done with such ease, nothing ever seems fake, particularly cause they use the real social media and websites, instead of making fake stuff.

When I went to see this film a few months ago, I remember how I never felt bored, or didn’t fiddle with some paper or something, like I do in some films, but I was completely enthralled by it. I just looked at the screen and couldn’t look away for the full running time. I guess that’s what they were going for, huh?

Rating: B+  8/10

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