Unfriended (2014) movie review | Halloween season

(Warning: Vague spoilers)

Like many sensible people, upon this feature’s release I refused to watch it due to the ridiculous plot. While I still stand by that, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this film was.

A quick summary: One year ago from when the film is set a girl committed suicide based on the bullying she received from a video being posted online of her. Now, while her (somewhat) grieving friends enter a Skype call, a mystery caller using their deceased friend’s account joins them, and terrorises the youths.

Sure, the first half of the film consists of the main characters (aka, our only characters, besides that one time when you hear the voices of police in one scene) introducing themselves to the audience (making it very clear who’s dating, who’s hated by the group, who’s the main a**hole, who’s the sensitive one, etc.), and each of them attempting to figure out who the mystery caller is. While I’d usually complain that this is a poor choice and shouldn’t take that much time, I felt the pacing was well enough to make up for it – genuinely feeling like a teen using the internet with their fiends. I was easily caught up with the great pacing that I was surprised to notice the first half hour had passed.

From here, the pacing stays just as smooth – not forcing anything to happen too soon, and not taking too long to move onto the next part. The next majority of the film is spent doing something I thought was quite a clever move on the writers’ behalf: the ghost/mystery caller gets them all to play “Never Have I Ever”, but rather than taking a shot of spirits, they put their lives on the line. While some may think this made the film a boring, I personally thought this was a smart way to make the characters a lot more realistic. For majority of the film, some of the characters seem a little over-exaggerated in their dialogue, so the Never Have I Ever plot made them more believable, as each of their responses were very well written and portrayed.

I still stand by my initial thoughts that the plot is rather stupid, but I can ignore that and say it wasn’t a waste of time to watch. It’s not exactly a “must see”, and I’m far from rushing to tell anyone they should watch it, but as far as modern horror movies go, this could have been waaaaay worse, given it’s base – much like Teeth (2007). If you want something a little different to watch this Halloween, or something light to watch with friends, give this one a try.

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