Unfriended

Laura Barns was a regular high school girl. One night, she partied a little too hard and someone caught it all on film. Then someone posted the video online for all to see. After the video was posted, Laura started getting anonymous messages online saying horrible things to her, even telling her to kill herself. Shortly after, it became too much for Laura, and she shot herself in the face. That too was caught on video and posted online. A year later, all her friends meet on Skype to talk about random things, most of them not even knowing it’s the anniversary. They soon realize there is an unwanted guest on their Skype call, and this guest is there to cause as much mayhem and death as possible until they discover who posted the video of drunken Laura Barns.

I’ve had the night to think about it, and I’m still really conflicted on how I feel about this movie. There are many things I really like about it. This film was made by MTV, who lately has been working on a few projects that focus on serious social issues affecting today’s teens. There are scripted shows that focus on a teen questioning their sexual orientation, a teen who is intersex, and even a show that displays the consequences of posting too much personal information online for crazies to find. With that in mind, I really liked that they brought to light the effects of cyber bullying and how people are more vicious when they can hide behind their computer. I also enjoyed that these privileged teens who did horrible things not only to Laura, but also to each other, got what was coming to them and had all their secrets exposed.

Another aspect that I really like was how it was filmed. The entire film is shot so you are looking at the main character’s computer screen. That way you can see everyone that is in on the Skype call, but you can also see this character go on various websites that help to unfold much of the story. It was surprisingly successful in doing this because you have the basic dialog that most movies have, but you also get to see what the main character is thinking by what she looks at online during the conversation. What makes this film such an achievement to me is primarily because it was filmed in one continuous, real-time take. The director revealed that when they began filming, they were trying it in longer 10 minute takes. The lead actress, Shelley Hennig (Teen Wolf), was actually the one who suggested doing it in one take in order to keep the energy of the film up. Not only is it incredible to me that they achieved doing it in one take, but I also love that it was one of the actors who suggested it instead of the director. [On a totally unrelated note, when you see all the tabs Hennig’s character has open on her computer one of them is an episode of the MTV scripted show, Teen Wolf, which she is one of the starts of.]

There were two things that make me feel like this movie isn’t as good as I expected it to be. First, since these people were on Skype, there was a lot of the screen freezing and choppiness that happens when you move around too much on Skype. This annoys me when I’m on Skype, so it made it difficult to watch for 82 minutes straight. Although, this definitely made the movie more realistic than it would have been if everyone’s Skype worked perfectly, even when they’re running around the house with their computer. Another thing that got to me is that I didn’t care about the characters. With the exception of Hennig’s character, I felt that all these people were so horrible that they really deserved whatever they got. It makes it less scary when you aren’t afraid for the characters’ lives.

As I said before, I’m really torn on whether I felt this was a good movie or not. I enjoyed it, which doesn’t take much for me, and I liked the social commentary on being careful about what you put out on the internet. It worked as a way to teach teens to be more compassionate when it comes to cyber bullying, and it effectively demonstrated that whatever you put on the internet is there forever. That alone will give it some extra points because that is a huge issues with today’s kids. It also was filmed in a really unique way that definitely drew me in. One thing that would really have made this a better movie is if the teens weren’t such despicable creatures, making it hard for you to care about them or their fate. Either way, it was an interesting movie that I would recommend people see.

OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10

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