Friday, May 1, 2015

Guest Review - "Unfriended"

By: JoAnne Hyde

Consider yourself warned: Unfriended is a film, directed by and acted by no one you’ve ever heard of, that will not appeal to anyone over the age of 18. The premise is that a group of teens doing a late-night chat via Skype are being menaced by someone, or some supernatural entity, using the Facebook account of their friend who committed suicide after being cyber-bullied. If they don’t look like teenagers to you, it’s because they’re not. They’re all in their twenties. I actually think the film would have been better if real teens had been cast.

The very naughty and chatting teens are Blaire (Shelley Hennig), Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), Adam (Will Peltz), Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki), and Val (Courtney Halverson). The dead girl, Laura, is played by Heather Sossaman. They chat a lot about sex, drinking, and drugs, and only turn to cyber-bullying after a blank profile mysteriously appears and leads them to dead Laura’s Facebook page. It seems that Blaire never unfriended Laura after her death, and now someone or something is threatening them through the site. Blaire now finds that she cannot unfriend or delete anything referring to Laura. Then they all discover they’ve all lost control of their computers. Ridiculous mayhem ensues.

Besides unbelievably cheesy acting, the main problem with the film is that there’s no live action – only the Skype images. This is supposed to be innovative, but it’s just annoying. You’re stuck with all the image freezes and breaking-up you get on your own computer. Instead of creating tension, it’s just distracting. You keep wondering why they just don’t all turn off their computers and go to bed. None of them are really sympathetic characters, so you don’t really care what happens to them. You just get tired of waiting to find out what’s going to happen, all of which turns out to be anti-climactic.

The main comment I heard from the preview audience was that it’s a boring film. I agree. I found myself wishing I could go home and watch some shows I’d DVR’ed. In fact, I was thinking about which one to watch first. Then I had to forcibly refocus my attention on the film. There were giggles, sighs, moans, and personal conversations among audience members, and I can’t say I blame them. Normally this kind of thing would annoy me, but I actually found it more entertaining than anything that was going on on-screen.
Unfriended was first intended to be an MTV television movie, which might have worked out better. Apparently, it got good reviews at an indie film screening, so the film makers opted for wide release in theaters. I, personally, would be upset if I paid to see a film that should have gone straight to DVD.
Over-all rating: F

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