The internet is a curious little thing. It can be used for listening to music, watching videos, playing games, shopping, socializing and blackmailing.
Wait, what was that last part?
"Unfriended takes place two years after a girl named Laura Barns tragically committed suicide over a video someone posted of her. A few of her classmates converse with each other through Skype, only to soon realize there is an uninvited guest on the call, who claims to be Laura. The kids are picked off one by one as they are blackmailed from this mysterious user."
Yes, Unfriended is about blackmail... from BEYOND THE GRAVE
It sounds like a really stupid concept when you put it like that. But let it sink in for a little bit.
The reality is, bullying is a serious issue. Sure, on the internet, words can be just interpreted as words, that's what trolls are for. All they do is post a bunch of words just to get people angry or miserable. But videos of someone being drunk off their ass and doing something embarrassing, is a whole new level of bullying. The kind that could destroy someone's reputation. And kids really do commit suicide for shit like this.
And speaking of kids, the characters are a huge part of what makes this movie great. They talk and act like real teenagers would in this situation they're in. They fear for their lives as this mystery person is exposing their secrets and playing with their emotions. And all 6 of these people had some part in driving Laura to suicide. None of them are truly innocent.
VISUALS AND SOUND:
So, this is a different kind of found footage film. Instead of a camera, the whole movie is on someone's laptop. "So the audience spends an hour and a half staring at a computer screen? That sounds super boring." Quite the contrary.
See, Unfriended has an advantage. Skype, YouTube, Facebook, etc; each website and program opened on this computer looks and sounds like it would if you were to use it yourself. This gives the audience a sense of realism that is quite difficult to capture on other films. I was completely immersed in the environment this movie set up because of how real it felt.
WHY IT'S TERRIFYING:
This person manages to gain control of everyone's computers. Their Spotify playlists, their Facebook accounts, and their Skype options are all bent to Laura's whim. And that's not everything she can manipulate. She has dirt on everyone on the call. Photos, videos, as well as private messages. Not even the fucking light switches are safe.
Some of you might think that none of this is at all possible in the real world. Sadly, it is.
The scary thing is: it could happen to anyone. Not necessarily the part where the characters are driven to kill themselves through demonic possession. But the blackmail and hacking shit? Yeah that could happen to you or anyone else.
Sure the movie has some jump-scares here and there like most horror flicks, but that honestly didn't bug me as much it should have. And I think it's because the film knows how to use other tactics to shock its audience.
The internet can be a scary place, and people actually can hack your computer and/or blackmail you if you're not careful.
It can happen to anyone. Something you may have done in the past can easily bite you in the ass if someone is holding a grudge and that can ruin your reputation forever.
It's been a while since we have had some good horror flicks with interesting premises, AND decent execution.
Unfriended, even with its weak ending and occasional jump-scares, is still worth the price of admission due to realistic themes, engaging visuals, and impressive performances.
P.S: Yes, I am very well aware that I still need to see It Follows. Everyone is telling me how good it is.