Because Tinder-nightmares, Facebook and Snapchat weren’t bad enough, now according to director Leo Gabriadze and writer Nelson Greaves, dead people are trying to kill us by seeking revenge... via Skype. Stay with me people...
On the one year anniversary of classmate Laura Barns’ suicide - a suicide that occurred as a result of cyber-bullying after an embarrassing video of her was uploaded - six friends are chatting on Skype when things go from bad to worse. They’re terrorised online by someone claiming to be the dead girl. Taking over their computers, this uninvited guest hacks their Facebook accounts and posts photos, plays music from their iTunes, brings up videos and forces them to play a deadly game of ‘Never have I ever’.
Taking the found-footage genre to a new level, the whole film plays out in real time, viewed entirely from Blaire Lily’s (Shelley Hennig) MacBook screen as she Skypes, iMessages her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm), Facebook messages Laura, Googles information, plays music, watches YouTube and reads emails. As each new window opens, it further highlights today’s online presence of teens - not only how they multitask but how many avenues in which they are vulnerable - without even touching Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Vine. Hopefully for the teens who watch this movie, it also highlights the impact and effect of online comments and just how far and literally the “kill urself” comment can go. Anonymously or not, it should never be said.
Taking the found-footage genre to a new level, the whole film plays out in real time.
Inspired by the recent epidemic of cyber-bullying and suicides, Gabriadze has really produced a highly engrossing, terrifying and thought-provoking film. Its unique premise and execution ensures maximum engagement and relatability, and well and truly ticks all the boxes to scare the poop out of you. Hennig is a powerhouse and carries the film beautifully in an 82-minute emotional roller-coaster freak-fest that’s exhausting just to watch.
Sure ‘Unfriended’ is a giant and cynical middle-finger and eyeroll to the Millennials by people that just (and probably gratefully) missed its starting point, but it is very clever and fingers crossed, will reach said Millennials in a way their painfully “cool hip” teachers haven’t quite been able to. No, of course real-life cyber-bullying isn’t going to release a ghost that will kill you all, but it does create demons.