Horror fans are always hungry for something new. Old or young we are always on the lookout for that next film that will excite and scare the fuck out of us. When there is a bad drought of horror, we can feel like animal waiting for its next kill.
Horror appeals to the primal primate in ourselves. We want blood, gruesome death, and to even feel nauseous. I hate roller coasters but I get their appeal.
Horror is that for me I will see some really horrible films if there slight percentage it’ll give me that fix. I fucking saw Ouija out of desperation. It was atrocious. Maybe one of the worst horror films I’ve ever seen, because I couldn’t watch past 15 minutes of it.
Now, I am still waiting to see It Follows and I was let down the 3rd act of Babadook, but when I saw the preview of Unfriended I was pretty stoked. I love a good premise, especially in horror. Where Babadook was more of an art film which got goofy at times and sacrificed scares for symbolism, Unfriended was a simple but yet intriguing premise to me. I have a love hate relationship with social media. I think it’s an amazing phenomenon that is starting to feel like a normal part of our lives. Unfriended took this simplicity and used amazing realism and minimalism to create a really cool horror film.
While I am not gonna say this the most important horror film in years or it’s a masterpiece, I am going to say this was a good and important film for the genre. It also showed how found footage has a place in storytelling, but for it to be effective it has to free. Unfriended greatest strengths was its realism. It really showed how people act on the internet, with realistic self-centered teens pausing and thinking what to write next. It’s real-time affect didn’t become boring because the tension kept building in the first and second act.
These kids seem like millennial assholes but we see ourselves in them. We see how social media affects our relationships and how we view are online identities. And like a good horror film there are themes of sin and retribution serves to us like a tasty burger and fries. This is not a gourmet meal but god damn tastes good. Unfriended finds the balance of making us relate to the characters, mirroring our own faults, while still wanting to see them die.
It also has some fun post-modern moments without losing the viewer. Not to give anything away but there are some clever moments when a song plays from a characters iTunes account similar to scenes in non-found footage films.
Overall this was a solid and pretty good horror film. I would have preferred a little more from the ending. I liked it but they could have driven it home more.
It was really fun seeing it in the theater and there were some good gore and solid tension from beginning to end. The biggest strength is just seeing a film that involves only a computer screen with Facebook, Google Searches, Skype, and YouTube as the only storytelling and scene devices. It’s a simple but amazing magic trick, but more importantly it echoes how we spend most nights.
It makes you wonder when the credits roll if you’re next.