Revenge Comes Online

Last night we watched a novel supernatural horror movie, directed by Levan Gabriadze (“Lucky Trouble”), titled “Unfriended”.

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Laura Barns' Suicide
Laura Barns’ Suicide

The film opens with high school student Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig – “Ouija”, “Days Of Our Lives”) watching a YouTube video on her laptop showing her childhood friend Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman – “10.0 Earthquake”) committing suicide twelve months previously after suffering from an online campaign of bullying and abusive comments.

Shelley Hennig & Moses Storm
Shelley Hennig & Moses Storm

Blaire then receives a call via Skype from her boyfriend Mitch Roussel (Moses Storm – “The 4 to 9ers”). After a flirtatious conversation in which they promise to lose their virginity to each other on the upcoming prom night they are joined in a group Skype call by three other friends.

Shelley Hennig, Will Peltz & Moses Storm
Shelley Hennig, Will Peltz & Moses Storm

Whilst talking to the three – Jess Felton (Renee Olstead – “The Bling Ring”, “The Secret Life Of An American Teenager”), Adam Sewell (Will Peltz – “In Time”) and Ken Smith (Jacob Wysocki – “Pitch Perfect”) – Blaire notices that there is another person connected to their conversation with no picture showing, named Billie227.

Billie227
Billie227

Despite repeated attempts the five are unable to disconnect Billie227 from the conversation. When the user claims to be the dead girl, Laura, and the group start to receive messages from Laura’s Facebook account they suspect another of their friends of playing a trick on them so call her via Skype.

Courtney Halverson, Jacob Wysocki & Renee Olstead
Courtney Halverson, Jacob Wysocki & Renee Olstead

The friend, Val Rommel (Courtney Halverson – “Godspeed”), joins the conversation, only to suddenly find compromising pictures of her at a party suddenly uploaded to Facebook – apparently by Jess.

Jess's Facebook Page
Jess’s Facebook Page

Jess protests her innocence and struggles to delete the pictures from Facebook but as soon as she is successful the pictures are re-posted on Adam’s Facebook account.

UnFriended10Gradually tensions amongst the group are exploited by the person terrorising them as secrets are forced into the open and events take a decidedly dark turn…

Heather Sossaman
Heather Sossaman

What we particularly enjoyed about this film was that practically the whole thing takes place on the screen of Blaire’s laptop – in fact we did think that watching the movie on a laptop or PC would make for an even more immersive viewing experience. This isn’t the first film to use this technique, with last year’s “Open Windows” treading a similar path, but in this case it felt very effective.

ce41b75311dcf9950e91ce0ad9a02ab5Nonetheless, this was a very well made film (apparently filmed via laptop mounted GoPro cameras) and made excellent use not only of the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Skype but also used spooling, lagging and pixilation breaking up as a clever way of adding to the tension.

Originally titled “Cybernatural” there is a supernatural / possession element to the film. More than anything, however, this movie should serve as something of a cautionary tale to those who spend large amounts of their lives interacting with others online, and especially of the very real fact that whatever you post or do online will be around for a very long time – this is especially pertinent to the mistakes and negative things.

Ultimately, no matter what your view on that, this film works very well as a tense supernatural horror and is definitely worth viewing…

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