Unfriended (2014)


REVIEWER RATING: 
5/10


Unfriended (originally titled Cybernatural) is an unconventional found footage flick that seemed to surprise a lot of people at how decent it was, getting fairly mixed reviews overall. It personally didn't look very good to me, but I went in with an open mind. Surprisingly enough, it wasn't as bad as I expected, but it's nowhere near as good as some viewers made it out to be either.

The film takes place entirely through the computer screen of our female lead, Blaire (Shelley Hennig). We watch as she multi-tasks her way through the web, online music, and various forms of social media. However, Skype is where most of the action takes place and is the outlet that introduces us to the rest of her group of friends. As what teens apparently do nowadays, they all BS back and forth on Skype until realizing that an anonymous individual appears to have snuck into their conference call.

It's not long before they realize who the person claims to be: a former classmate named Laura, that committed suicide a year prior due to cyber bullying after an embarrassing video of her leaked online. Naturally the friends think it's just a hacker playing games until they involuntarily commit suicide on cam in odd and specific ways. This leads Blaire and the remaining cast to believe that the vengeful spirit of Laura has somehow found its way online and is determined to get revenge on all those that took part in her bullying.

Although the movie is somewhat creative in its approach of telling a story and its theme of cyber bullying, the cam narrative has been done before--most recently with an indie pic titled The Den (which I've still yet to see), but the first film I remember ever doing it was an even smaller budgeted movie called The Collingswood Story from 2002. Obviously there was no Skype at the time, so it was all done through other forms of video conferencing, but either way it was unfortunately a pretty boring flick. Though, it was at least an original take within the genre at the time.  

While the constant clicking back and forth on screen got a bit tiresome at times, I have to give the filmmakers credit that the movie kept my interest for the most. That aside, it doesn't really offer anything worth noting; wasn't scary at all and was even unintentionally funny at times (to me anyway). Next to a brief blender death scene there wasn't any blood or gore. In fact most of the deaths were too quick and the video feed would get distorted or cut out, so by the time we realized what was going on it was gone.

Unfriended is a mediocre film that tries a different approach at storytelling and in some ways succeeds, but fails in everything else. It's not scary and is even unintentionally funny at times, but it remained interesting for the most part. Sadly, "interesting" isn't enough to make it a good film, so while it's not as bad as I thought it'd be, it's not good either. It simply lies in the middle. If you're a fan of found footage you may dig this, but don't expect much otherwise.
OVERALL: 
Unfriended is a mediocre film that tries a different approach at storytelling and in some ways succeeds, but fails in everything else. It's not scary and is even unintentionally funny at times, but it remained interesting for the most part. Sadly, "interesting" isn't enough to make it a good film, so while it's not as bad as I thought it'd be, it's not good either. It simply lies in the middle. If you're a fan of found footage you may dig this, but don't expect much otherwise.