Written by Jason White.
Unfriended was released late in 2014 to mixed reviews. Because the movie had a teenaged cast involving computers, I was reminded of the latest from the Paranormal Activity franchise and nearly missed watching this one. I am, however, glad that I decided to give it a go after all.
The movie isn't without its flaws, but my first impressions were that of great worry and wondering if, perhaps, I hadn't wandered into a horror movie on my own. I knew that Unfriended used social media to present itself, but I had no idea how far that concept went. Suddenly I was affronted with Youtube and Facebook and the like, and I felt very confused for a few moments.
Had I hooked up the computer to the television correctly? Was I indeed watching a movie, or had all these social media sites somehow plagued my television screen with something all too real and frightening?
The movie then continues on in this fashion, switching from Skype to Facebook Messenger to iPhone to Google to Instagram to any of the most popular social media sites out there right now. It was almost like watching a science fiction movie, something like Alien, where each of our players are too far away from each other to commute remotely, and so they are using technology to discuss whatever business.
But that's also the problem. I am no longer that young. I therefore have no real idea how the cool kids communicate these days. Do they really sit in their rooms and Skype each other, when they all live so very close to each other? Have we reached the point where we can violently argue silently amongst each other via text message while the cell phone and landlines remain silent?
In either case, what starts as a get-together for an online chat and, perhaps, some drinking, quickly turns into a living nightmare when all participants find themselves stuck online under threat of either a clever Internet troll or an evil presence completely immersed within cyber space.
The result is a frightening commentary on how we tend to treat each other, even when we claim to be friendly to each other. In truth, we sometimes make mistakes. The kind of mistakes that have serious consequences. It's all about cause and effect, something of which younger generations never seem to learn until it's too late.
While I doubt anyone would truly be worried about who's sleeping with who when your life is on the line, the acting in Unfriended is pretty damn well done. I can't tell if there was a script the actors followed or if it was mostly improvisation. It really doesn't matter, because all parts are played so well it's easy to get lost in their portrayals.
Unfriended is not a perfect movie, none are, but I do think that it is innovative for the found footage sub-genre. It's actually interesting to watch and you almost feel as though you are a lurking participant. It's very possible you won't like this one, but I still suggest giving it a try. It's very much a sign of our modern times. Almost science fiction in its own right. It's message is also a good one.
Treat each other with respect or suffer the consequences.
It's as simple and yet as difficult as that.