release date: 17 April 2015 (Canada)
run time: 83 mins
considered: Horror, Thriller
director: Levan Gabriadze
starring: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Henning, Moses Jacob Storm, Will Petz, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki, Mickey River, Cal Barnes, Christa Hartsock
movie summary: Lauren Barnes (Heather Sossaman) was a very pretty girl who was liked by almost everyone, including her best friend Blaire (Shelley Henning). When Lauren makes a fool of herself at a party one night, the world gets a glimpse of a night full of bad decisions when a video gets posted online. Unable to deal with the fall out, Lauren kills herself and posts it online. Fast forward a year later and someone has hacked into Lauren’s Facebook page and Skype account. On a night when Blaire and her boyfriend Matt (Matthew Bohrer) share an intimate video chat, Laurie’s profile interrupts. When they can’t solve the mystery, the pair call their friends Val (Courtney Halverson), Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), Adam (Will Peltz), and Jess (Renee Olstead). When no one owns up to the prank, things get out of hand very quick leading to the deadliest game of truth or dare ever.
my thoughts: I can’t sugar coat my feelings for horror movies in 2015, 99% of them are garbage and don’t even deserve a major theatre release. So far this year I’ve seen The Woman in Black 2, The Lazarus Effect, and It Follows. Naturally I get excited for horror movies because I grew up on horror flicks from the 1980s and 1990s and got my hopes up for Unfriended. This was going to be an interesting concept with loads of room for potential as the first of its kind. The movie is completely set online and features all the name brand apps you would come to expect like Facebook, Skype, iMessage, Google, and iTunes. The majority of us know how to use these apps like we know how to write our names, so it was refreshing to see someone use all them to create lots of drama filled with blood and guts.
Of course this movie has plenty of flaws. There’s plenty of things that don’t add up or even make sense, but overall this was very entertaining. There’s actually no hints to whether or not Lauren is actually pulling all the strings or that someone has hacked into her accounts. One of the funniest aspects of the entire movie is how every single person thinks they are smarter than the “hacker” and threatens to find them and hurt them. No one believes this could be a ghost out for revenge, which does actually seem crazy, even for these smart teenagers.
One of the other great aspects of this movie is the epic, and when I mean epic, I mean epic, game of five fingers. This is a game where a question like “have you ever” gets asked and if someone has done the deed they have to put a finger down. The person who puts down all five fingers is the loser. These seven friends were once close, they were the best of friends, and they all knew Lauren, while Blaire and Matt were madly in love. That all changed by the end of five fingers with the majority of the characters in tears, dead, or losing their mind at the truths they just found out. Everyone went from being on the same team to absolutely hating each other all thanks to one game about secrets. I thought everyone did a fantastic job acting out their emotions whether the girls were bawling their eyes out or the guys losing their mind in anger. This was a great example of people pouring everything into their characters and telling a compiling story.
my final thoughts: Unfriended is a first of kind story that has some predictable moments but overall keeps you guessing and entertained until the final scene. You’ll have a blast figuring out who is lying, who is dying next, and who is going to survive the whole ordeal. No movie is perfect and this 83 horror flick is far from it, but was entertaining and worth watching with friends to get even more out of the experience. If you happen to miss this one at the theatre, I’d still recommend watching it someday to take a chance in the game of who killed Lauren Barnes.
my star rating: 7 out 10
imdb: 6.1 out 10
rottentomatoes: 65% out 100%
roger ebert: 1 out 4
richard crouse: 4 out 4