Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Unfriended is the most original Horror Film I have ever seen, and it’s the most timely. Using today’s technology and important messages about bullying and suicide, this is sure to resonate.
The entire Film is one shot of a Character’s computer screen. It begins with Blaire (Shelley Hennig) talking on Skype with her Boyfriend and quickly three of her Friends and a mystery Person are added to the conversation. The five Friends try to figure out who this person is and why they can’t get them out of their Chat. It turns out the account belongs to an old Friend, Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman), who committed suicide a year prior. Blaire can’t figure out who is doing this and neither can any of her Friends. This Chat starts out as a joke until it turns deadly rather quickly. When their Friend Val is added to the Chat, the anonymous Guest begins targeting each teen one by one. They are told if they sign-off, they will die.
There is never a dull moment due to the steady pace in unveiling each of the Character’s dark secrets about Laura Barns’ suicide. No matter how interesting the Film is, it couldn’t have worked without the solid performances from the Cast. And the fact that fresh faces are cast here only aids that cause. There are no special effects, it’s just the Cast staring into Webcams, speaking to us. Shelley Hennig, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead, Jacob Wysocki and Moses Jacob Storm all get a fantastic introduction here and it would be no surprise that they go on to do big things. The entire Film I actually believed their chemistry as tight-knit group of Friends, each fearing for their lives. Director Levan Gabriadze paces the Story perfectly, with suspense building-up in just the amounts to keep us properly scared.
Its a Film with an important message and a unique twist on the ‘found footage’ Sub-Genre of Horror that has become popular in recent years, but make no mistake, Unfriended is a cut above the rest. Universal Pictures Canada release Unfriended Friday, April 17, 2015.