THE originality of Unfriended is that everything takes place in a Skype chat room played out on a The Blair Witch Project brought on the age of left-behind video footage, Unfriended may herald a new age of communication in films.
computer screen. Just like how
Unfriended is also a horror film, so you see a lot of shouting, screaming, creaking doors, lights going on and off, and blood splatters.
And instead of being turned off by the film's novelty, I was on the edge of my seat when Russian director Levan Gabriadze cranked up the tension in a deadly game of seeking the truth.
Everyone has a secret, the film says, and it's up to an evil spirit to get six white teens to spill the beans on themselves and their friends. How far will you go to keep your secrets, the film asks, and are you aware of the consequences of your actions in the Internet age?
Blaire (Shelley Henning) is on Skype with high school sweetheart Mitch (Moses Storm) and tells him that she will let him pop her cherry on prom night.
Suddenly, ruggedly handsome but gun-brandishing Adam (Will Peltz), blondie Jess (Renee Olstead) and fat computer nerd Ken (Jacob Wysocki) pop into the conversation. Later, Val (Courtney Halverson) is asked to join in.
It's the first-year death anniversary of schoolmate Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), who had committed suicide. Someone had posted a video clip of her in a drunken stupor and covered in her own faeces, which led to her shooting herself, also caught on video.
An intruder using Laura's account drops into their chat, and whose presence provokes anger and consternation among the others. They can't get rid of this person, who poses tantalising questions about Lara.
This person orders them to reveal their darkest and innermost secrets under the threat of death, which leads to the friends turning on each other to save their own skin.
Two things are going on here. Firstly, who is this damn annoying intruder, and secondly, where is this line of questioning going?
Considering that there are sometimes five or six boxes on the screen, the film does a good job of keeping us engrossed in the narrative. The pursuit of truth has never been more frightening.
3 out of 5 stars