Unfriended (DVD)

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Unfriended (DVD)

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73% positive

3 reviews from the community

Review of "Unfriended (DVD)"

published 19/07/2017 | JaydonNolan
Member since : 27/05/2016
Reviews : 56
Members who trust : 12
About me :
Currently studying for A-Levels, sorry for the lack of reviews, will try to continue to keep rating :)
Super
Pro different, makes you think
Cons bad quality, a little cheesy
exceptional
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Story
Characters / Performances
Special Effects
Soundtrack

"A unique approach - Unfriended"

Unfriended (DVD)

Unfriended (DVD)

Introduction

As a lover of traditional horror films, I found the concept of a horror which takes part online a little off-putting. However, I do like to see a modern twist on the classical principles of horror. For a horror to really make us feel the full potential of fear intended by the directors and writers, I feel that we have to relate to the characters. With the ever moving age of technology, we are now started to see the transition in film to suit the common lives of people in the modern day. Although this film is very different from the average horror film and is filmed entirely on the laptop screen of protagonist Blaire Lily, we are still able to empathise with the fear felt by characters and gain an understanding of the story line.

Plot Overview

This film is shown entirely on a laptop screen, which makes us feel that we are viewing the happenings from the perspective of Blaire, a teenage girl who enjoys video chatting with her friends. We firstly see Blaire watching a video of the suicide of a girl named Laura Barnes on a website that looks to be illegal. Her watching is interrupted by an incoming phone call from her boyfriend Mitch. However, their private call (which is beginning to turn flirty) is interrupted by an incoming group call. Initially, Blaire is annoyed at Mitch for answering the call but is then left confused when Mitch claims he didn't. The group notice that there is an anonymous user in the chat who nobody added, however when they try to remove the user there is no option to do so. At the same time, Blaire begins receiving messages from the facebook friend of Laura Barns. As Laura is dead, she begins to suspect that one of her friends has hacked the account and is using it to torment her.
As the film continues, we start to see that there is a connection between the anonymous account in the group chat and the person using Laura Barns account. The anonymous account eventually begins responding when the group continuously try to remove them from the account.
The account begins to question the morality of the teenagers through a series of questioning and threats being made to them by the user. It is Blaire who discovers that the user is actually on Laura's account, as well as messaging her on facebook too.
The teenagers begin to freak out when Val's camera is stopped after a confrontation with the anonymous account and they are all warned not to leave the group chat or else they will be killed.
Throughout the film we see violence, fear and aspects of the supernatural as the story of Laura Barnes' suicide is revealed and the mistakes of each teenager are revealed.

Cast/Characters

As the cast is actually very limited for this film, I'm going to write a paragraph for each character.

Shelley Hennig as Blaire Lily

In many ways, Blaire acts as the audience. The entire film is shown through her eyes are she uses her laptop to communicate with friends. We see her messages and her perspective of the video chat. This is portrayed in a very naturalistic way as we see the natural glitches which often occur during video chats (for example, other people's cameras freezing) and Blaire's switching between windows to check messages/check for updates etc.
We really start to empathise with Blaire's paranoia as she switches between the messages she is receiving from Laura's facebook account the conversation going on with the other characters in the video chat. Blaire acts in the typical way of a teenage girl in my eyes - when she becomes paranoid that somebody can see her activity (for example, she receives a message from Laura asking what she is watching right after she has watched the suicide video) she deletes her history. What is interesting about the direction of this film is that we can infer thought tracks simply from the positioning and delay of interaction on the screen. For example, when Blaire hesitates to reply to messages. For me, things like this allow me to understand the character and become involved with the storyline.
By the end of the film we do feel sorry for Blaire, although there is a twist at the end that could make us question how good of a person she is. Throughout the film we begin to see her starting to admit her guilt towards the death of Laura and the admission of other mistakes she has made in her life. For me, Blaire is one of the more honest characters (up until the ending twist) so it is difficult to see her hurting and feeling in fear for her life.
It is difficult to rate the acting quality of Shelley as this is mainly shown through a low-quality skype call camera. She takes on the average teenage girl character in a way that is believable and nothing too dramatised.
Moses Jacob Storm as Mitch Roussel

Right from the beginning, Mitch seems quite a genuine guy. Although he seems like he intentionally tries to wind Blaire up - for example, he sends her a link to a website about not answering messages from the dead after Blaire confesses she has received a message from Laura's facebook account to freak her out. This shows that he doesn't take the situation seriously immediately, which allows us as a audience to feel more tension as we start to realise that the events happening are real. Mitch's optimism is relatable to most viewers, as a lot of people tend not to believe in supernatural things. Mitch acts as a voice of reason through his witty sense of humour and the way he teases Blaire, his sense of humour can seem rather harsh considering their friend has recently committed suicide, which I makes us accept Mitch as the average unsensible male teenage character. I think it's quite sweet that we are able to see the individual messages between Mitch and Blaire, whilst still seeing the group conversation over the video call. We see that Mitch has a protective side over Blaire, given their relationship, by having the private conversation shown to us viewers allows us to gain a deeper connection with these two characters.

William Peltz as Adam Sewell

We instantly recognise Adam as a typical boyish character who is arrogant and clearly in his own world. He has the stereotypical teen look, with careful attention paid to his hair and a charismatic feel to him.
However, when the group are forced to play never have I ever by Laura, a new side to his character is revealed which makes us see him as a more vulnerable person. William does a good job at portraying the way his confident front is broken by the game and the admission of things that have happened to him. Although I don't particularly feel that we connect deeply with any of the characters in this movie given the view point we are given, I feel that little reveals like this allow human flaws to be seen which makes us able to relate to the characters.
Jacob Wysocki as Ken Smith

Ken seems slightly less mature than the other characters, it isn't addressed whether he is younger or not, to me, it seems it may just be his personality. His dress sense, the view of his room and his general style seems to highlight this.
Ken is the "dorky" one of the group who seems to be the best with technology. When the group noticed there is an anonymous account joined into their video chat, it is left to Ken to find out who it is and remove them. When Ken is unable to combat this, our suspicions begin to arise as we presume that if it were any normal hacker Ken would have no trouble removing them. Ken allows for the tension to be built, when we see that he no longer feels safe we begin to panic too.

Courtney Halverson as Val Rommel

We have an immediate tendency to dislike Val as she is the outsider of the group. It is firstly Val who is accused of being the anonymous speaker in their group, which shows that the group do not trust her from the start. We know that Val holds a lot of the blame towards Laura's death, as Blaire sends her a message in which Val tells Laura to kill herself.
However, we don't get to know Val too well as she is one of the first characters to be taken by the ghost/demon which we presume to be Laura's spirit. She panics and tries to contact the police after the group are told that they must not hang up the call or else they will die. As Val does not listen to this as she doesn't believe it is true, she is removed quickly. Val is the first character to show that something serious is happening, which allows the plot to be developed from her departure.

My opinion

I find this quite a different kind of film. When I first started watching it I felt like turning it over straight away, it struck me as a cheesy/cheap film attempting to be modern and relatable to popular culture. However, after the shocking clip of Laura's suicide, I became engaged in the story as I wanted to discover who she was, how she came to this end and who was the person behind the screen. I think the perspective we are given is interesting as we get to see the contrast between what the main characters share between themselves and the rest of the group - this shows how we feel that we are protected on line and have a tendency to forget our responsibilities in the outside world when communicating privately online. This film really exposes the secret nature of modern communicating and uses an abstract concept to portray the consequences of diminished responsibility and ignorance to our own faults.
Although I do find it still quite cheap and not as enjoyable as other horror films, I do think it is engaging and made me want to continue to find the conclusion of what happened.
What is also slightly annoying about this film is that the quality isn't great. I understand this creates a more natural viewing experience, however, is can be distracting and irritating as it is sometimes difficult to see what is happening which did make me feel less engaged sometimes.

WARNING

There are scenes of heavy violence in this film. Right at the start we see a clip of Laura publicly shooting herself, this is just the start of the violence. Later we see a clip of one character being mauled by a blender, which is extremely graphic. Therefore, I would recommend only older teenagers/adults watching this - or if you are easily upset by suicide/scenes of violence, give it a miss.

Where to watch

This is another film I watched on Netflix. The DVD can be bought on HMV's website for £5.99 but there are very cheap DVDs being sold second hand on Ebay.


Community evaluation

This review was read 114 times and was rated at
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Comments on this review

  • siberian-queen published 09/09/2017
    excellent not seen this
  • euphie published 27/07/2017
    e :o)
  • 1st2thebar published 22/07/2017
    Very good. The lack of quality in this genre is renown - one of the signatures of horror.
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Product Information : Unfriended (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

DVD Region: DVD

Actor(s): Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Hennig

Classification: 15 years and over

Director(s): Levan Gabriadze

EAN: 5053083037987

Production Year: 2015

Video Category: Feature Film

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Listed on Ciao since: 08/05/2017