If you’d have told me a week ago that I’d be writing this post, I’d have called you crazy. Heck, if you’d told me yesterday. When I first heard of Unfriended, I assumed it was just a gimmick. There’s no way a movie that’s just a Skype call could possibly be good. The fact that there’s already a sequel just proves it.
But one of my bestfriends saw Unfriended: Dark Web today and posted on Facebook, “I am legit walking out of the theater shaking. “These Unfriended movies are dementedly genius!” (that was his post copied and pasted). I was confused, so I commented saying that I’ve never seen the first one. He and another friend commented that I should. We usually agree when it comes to movies, so I rented it on YouTube and watched it tonight.
So, as you can see, in less than half an hour I went from thinking it was just a gimmick to actually liking it. Almost immediately, I realised it was something unique.
It uses real sites and programs, such as Facebook, Spotify, and Skype. This was a surprise to me, because usually in movies they use fake ones. Using real things adds to be authenticity and believability of the film.
The entire film is from the screen of the main character, Blaire. It opens with her looking up information on her friend, Laura Barns, who committed suicide a year previously. After a minute her boyfriend calls and the story begins. It’s essentially all in one shot, because it never cuts away from the screen, and instead has Blair switching tabs on the left (she’s using a Mac).
But as boring as this probably sounds, this is actually used to great effect to tell the story. You can see by the way the cursor moves how Blair is reacting to situations. Something will pop up and the cursor will pause, then slowly go over to click it.
I think one of the best uses of this is one scene when the characters in the Skype call criticize Laura, the girl who committed suicide, and Blair is using iMessage with her boyfriend in another tab, telling him they didn’t know Laura like she did, that she had a hard life. When her boyfriend asked what she meant, she types, “When she and I were young”, deletes it, types, “When she was”, deletes it, types “Her uncle”, deletes it, then finally types, “Just family stuff” and sent it. So much is implied by her deleted messages but isn’t explained. We don’t need it explained, and a lesser film would have gone down that road and handled it poorly.
The acting was surprisingly realistic. The group of friends got into a few fights, and there were real tears shed. Then when they were laughing and joking around, it felt like they were actual friends in a Skype call. I believed that we were watching a real group of friends interacting. Even when they were fighting, if something happened between one of them they suddenly stopped fighting and showed genuine concern.
I was legitimately freaked out several times watching this movie. It’s very rare for a modern horror film to scare me, and I think the last one to do so was It Follows.
Pretty much my only real complaint with the film is the very last second. Literally the very last second. they go the jump scare route. But unlike Paranormal Activity’s jump scare ending, it actually makes sense. I just generally don’t like jump scares. But as I said, that’s my only complaint, and it doesn’t ruin the rest of the film. It’s not like it turns out they were actually on an alien spaceship the whole time or something.
I’m now excited about seeing Dark Web. According to my friend, and most of the reviews I’ve seen before writing this one, it’s better than the first. I seriously hope so, because this one was amazing!