|Starring||Heather Sossaman, Renee Olstead, Matthew Borher, Moses Storm, Shelley Hennig, Courtney Halverson, Jacob Wysocki|
|Release||17 APR (US) 01 MAY (UK) Certificate 15|
While the film's narrative style takes a while to get used to, it's a bold and interesting move from the filmmakers, not to mention a strong gimmick. The story itself isn't up to much – we've all seen people tormented by evil spirits before, and done to a higher standard too. But director Leven Gabriaze and writer Nelson Greaves have given it an ultra modern twist that'll resonate well with modern teenagers. A horror told entirely through Skype is really the next logical step for a genre that's always evolving.
The film's biggest issue however lays with the six main characters. While there is enough suspense, peril and tense moments to keep your attention, you really couldn't give two shits about the fate of the clichéd American high school teens with zero morals. They're so self-obsessed that when they're forced to play a game of 'I Have Never' it's revealed just how detestable and mean-spirited they really are. It's no surprise they're being trolled by a ghost really. They deserve it.
Thankfully, what makes Unfriended stand out is the technical authenticity and the little details the filmmakers have thought of; like the relevant tabs Blaire has open, her internet history and old Facebook conversations with classmates about homework. It genuinely looks like the messy, personal computer of a sixteen-year-old girl (not that I know what one of those looks like). And while Blaire and her friends are all idiots, they're all extremely believable idiots. This level of legitimacy and well-thought-out online habits of a typical teen helps give the film a heightened sense of realism, making it all the more chilling.
Ultimately though, Unfriended isn't as fresh or original as the filmmakers were hoping for – 2013's The Den used a similar format, as did Elijah Wood's Open Windows just last year. It's nowhere near as effective or truly frightening as The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, but it is a fittingly clever cyber-horror for the technological times we live in. And this is something us old timers might just have to get used whether we like it or not.