Wednesday, April 29, 2015



From IMDB:


While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. At first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends' darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead. Told entirely from a young girl's computer desktop, CYBERNATURAL redefines 'found footage' for a new generation of teens. Written by Anonymous

Ratings: 6.0/10 from 3,760 users Metascore: 59/100 

From Rotten Tomatoes:


Unfriended unfolds over a teenager's computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance for a shaming video that led a vicious bully to kill herself a year earlier.

Average Rating: 5.8/10 | Reviews Counted: 91
Fresh: 54 | Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: Unfriended subverts found-footage horror clichés to deliver a surprisingly scary entry in the teen slasher genre with a technological twist.

AUDIENCE SCORE 47% liked it
Average Rating: 3/5 | User Ratings: 16,443

This was the original title and the original poster. The title is lame but the poster isn't too bad if a little too typical of the genre. ©Universal Pictures

So here's another teen thriller... But it's got cyber-bullying and supernatural stuff and lots and lots of windows... (THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT THEN SKIP OR SKIM, DO WHATEVER YOU WANT BUT DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU)

So what's this movie about then? I'll try to sum it up for you (you lazy people who didn't read those synopsis up there you...) Once upon a time in a place called Fresno, California a girl who had been bullied mercilessly online and off decided to point a gun at her face in the middle of the school yard and pull the trigger. Why did she do it? Didn't I say she was bullied mercilessly? Oh yeah, I did. Anyway, she was bullied after some people at a party picked a fight with her and then when she passed out drunk by a trailer and filled her hot pants with poop some other people at the same party decided it would be fun to capture it on video and put it on YouTube to shame her. This of course led to her being ridiculed, insulted, embarrassed, bullied, etc, etc, to a point where everyone began asking her to kill herself because of the embarrassing video. Which of course she did.

A year later, some of those people who went to that party (and can probably guess by now these are the people who had a hand in the whole cyber-bullying thing) are at home and chatting each other up on Skype and iMessage. You see all this from the point of view of Blaire played by Shelley Hennig, actually you spend a lot of it like a fly on her shoulder. Actually, and this is a SPOILER, you spend THE ENTIRE MOVIE LIKE A FLY ON HER SHOULDER!! The entire movie all you ever see is the screen of her MacBook. All the other things that happen, all the stuff that happens to her friends you also see through that friggin' screen. In fact, you don't even see her completely as you only see her through the screen too, on that Skype window.

This is Laura. She pooped her pants. ©Universal Pictures

So like I said it's been a year and it's the anniversary (do people refer to it that way?) of her suicide, her name is Laura Barns by the way. And you meet the boyfriend/girlfriend pair of Blaire and Mitch played by Moses Jacob Storm. They're discussing stuff and prom and about to get naughty/kinky when they get interrupted by a call from their friends Jess (Renee Olstead), Adam(Will Peltz) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki). But strangely enough there's also another person with them in the group chat. They try to kick the stranger out but can't, after a while they just assume it's a glitch in Skype. As they chat Mitch tells Blaire that he's just received a message from Laura. She thinks he's pulling her leg since it's the anniversary of that day but not long after she begins to get a message from Laura on Facebook.

Of course she thinks that Mitch is doing it but Mitch says no and as she talks to this 'Laura' she begins to get agitated and threatens to report her page to Facebook to shut it down. As she goes through the process of reporting to Facebook strange things start happening, clickable links become un-clickable, buttons disappear and items she's just typed in disappear and change. This freaks her out even more and she reports it to Mitch. While this is happening the group begins to suspect that it might be the work of Val (Courtney Halverson) and they call her up to join the group chat. Things don't go well really quick when out of nowhere unsavory pictures of Val show up on Facebook supposedly uploaded by Jess, except that Jess says she didn't do it. She takes it down to calm things down but they get posted again but this time by Adam, he didn't do it either. Val of course gets madder and threatens to call the police but just as she does her connection cuts out.

This is how most of this movie plays out. Just like this. 80 minutes. ©Universal Pictures

Just then an Instagram is sent to Blaire's Gmail from Laura, it's a screencap of Val commenting that Laura should kill herself. Blaire's freaking out now and Mitch tells her to forward the email to the rest but somehow the forward button has disappeared. Meanwhile, Val has popped back into the group chat but she doesn't move, they think the video's frozen. Blaire gives her phone a call and that's when they realize the video isn't frozen. They panic and call the police. They try to get her to talk but then something happens and Val's laptop is now on the ground. The police soon show up and the group overhears them talking, shouting out police call signs which they Google. They find out that the police believe Val committed suicide. This really freaks out the group.

And while they're trying to figure out what's going on the silent guest, the glitch starts talking. She also starts sending everyone pictures of Blaire sleeping with Adam. No one but Blaire opens it at first, everyone else is too scared.

Occasionally you get this. Lots of windows. ©Universal Pictures

They of course think it's a hacker, a troll and Ken the geek of the group decides to do something about it. He emails all of them a little software to scan all of their computers for anything out of the ordinary. When the scan ends it appears to have worked. The guest in their chat room seems to have been booted off. But then it comes back. Adam is thoroughly pissed by now and decides to call the police except that it isn't the police on the other end but Laura. And this is when the taunting and the games begin.

The first to get targeted is Ken. Ken tried to shut her down. Laura's video feed begins to show an obstructed view. They try to figure out where it might be but then as Ken stands up they notice that the camera is actually pointed at Ken from behind him. Ken looks for the camera but when he does he freezes, like Val. Laura's and Ken's video feeds cut out. The group panic. The video comes back and we see Ken smashing his head on the table before it cuts out only to come back again showing Ken sticking his hand in the blender before it cuts out again only to return showing Ken pushing the spinning blades of the blender into his own neck. The video goes dead. Everyone freak out more.

Now there's four.

Here's how you watch the scary bits. Along with the rest of the characters. ©Universal Pictures

So now Laura gets personal. She tells the four of them they're going to play a game called 'Never Have I Ever'. You put five fingers up and for each time you have done something you put a finger down. The winner for this game dies. Most of Laura's statements/questions are of the accusatory kind. And when a finger goes down it means that someone once lied about it to the other. They start to fight. Everyone is saying how horrible the other is, how they can't be trusted. The first to die in this game is Adam. Laura sent him and Blaire a printout. They're are told to not show it to the others. Blaire in order to gain Mitch's trust after Mitch finds out she's been sleeping with Adam even when she told him she was a virgin shows Mitch the printout. It reads, if she shows the others what is on the paper Adam dies. Adam puts a gun to his face and pulls the trigger.

Next up is Jess. Laura asks if anyone of them had ever gone to her grave and defaced it. No one admits. Jess panics and locks herself up in the bathroom. She's tossed like a rag doll in the bathroom and then dies after a curling iron is jammed down her throat. A picture of it goes up on Facebook with the caption, "Looks like she finally STFU." Now there are two.

Or like this. I guess Fresno, California has sucky broadband connections. ©Universal Pictures

The last statement Laura puts out the question of who was responsible for uploading the video to begin with. Laura believes it was Mitch. Blaire wants to deny it but can't. But she believes she didn't do it. Just as time is about to run out she blames it on Mitch. Mitch stabs himself in the face with a hunting knife.

Laura's not done yet. She still wants a confession from Blaire. Blaire still says she didn't do it, she's not to blame. She made mistakes but she's a good person. Just then Laura pulls up the fateful video but this time we see it in full. Right at the end the camera turns back on the person doing the recording and it turns out it was Blaire, at the end of the video she says, 'I got her'.

Ever accidentally click on something and then it starts opening more and more windows on it's own? Yeah, now you get to watch it happen in a movie too. Ghosts... ©Universal Pictures

The video goes up on Facebook. Now all her friends know that she's the reason for Laura's death. She gets bombarded by messages. As she stares at all the hate coming at her the door bursts open and in the dark someone closes her laptop forcefully. The end.

Well that's what I remember of it anyway.

Yeah, Adam is dead but not yet, he looks like that because Fresno has bad broadband. ©Universal Pictures

So was this teen thriller/horror good?

Well, no. Not really anyway, it is after all a teen thriller/horror and most of the time these movies are good for a cheap scare on a first date. The whole premise sounds pretty interesting since no one's really done a movie about cyber bullying and put a supernatural twist to it and you got an interesting new animal. But unfortunately it falls short.

The problem with this movie is for me in the execution part. It's all well and good to want to try to do it differently or in a new way but you should how far to take it. The problem I'm talking about is how everything is played out, how everything we see we see it through Blaire's MacBook screen. After the novelty wore off which happened after the first 10 minutes it was just tedious. Most of us already spend our days looking at laptop or PC screen and then take breaks to look at our phones or tablets so to have to spend it in a cinema looking at another screen for 80 minutes felt a little too ridiculous. The only people I think might enjoy this are teenagers (DUH!) or people who are extreme busybodies, rubberneckers and major buttinskies. I just found it dull as heck.

When you're not looking at window after window on Blaire's MacBook you see Blaire screaming. ©Universal Pictures

Then there's the horror and thriller parts. There's too little of it unless you're the kind that thinks being hacked and trolled from beyond the grave is scary as hell. Maybe it is if it happened to you in real life but it just doesn't work on the big screen. As for the actual scary horror bits that are the staple of the horror genre, you know blood, gore, jump scares, scary shadows, well they're few and far between. Actually what I wrote up there is all there is and it all happens in those little windows in Blaire's laptop. So it's really hard to appreciate the scary when it's tiny and constantly being affected by a bad broadband/wireless connection.

All in all I felt this movie probably had some potential but it was wasted. Granted the horror genre has been played out for a while now. Every horror/thriller movie relies on the same methods to scare you and the stories are somewhat predictable so the seasoned movie goer or horror movie fan knows not to expect too much but this movie had a pretty original idea. It was playing with new themes, new ideas and playing with our current obsession with all things Social Media. I mean revenge from the grave that takes place entirely on cyberspace and through mediums that we all know and love and use everyday that's a new idea, right? And using the screencast method is interesting but they overdid it. If they had mixed it up, used some old tried and true horror movie methods it might have been a little bit better.

Note to self, don't pass out drunk by a trailer and poop your pants, also don't have douchebag friends. ©Universal Pictures

Honestly, I didn't know what this movie was about. Didn't know it even existed. Didn't read up on it before watching it, didn't even watch the trailer. If I did I don't think it would have made much of a difference though. After all it's still a teen horror/thriller, you usually can't expect much from them.

So basically there you have it. I didn't think much of it. It probably had promise way back when it was just an idea and maybe it was good a year ago when it showed up at the Fantasia Festival on July 20, 2014 but a year later and well, you know, not so good. Few movies age well. Horror the least likely. I rate this movie  a ho-hum and very tedious 2 out 5. If you want to watch it go watch it. You're not going to walk away impressed, scared or looking over your shoulder or looking at your laptop, PC, phone, tablet, phablet, etc, any differently or weirdly after it.

Things I learned from watching this: 

1) Fresno has bad broadband

2) American teenagers are promiscuous drunks

3) American parents do not exist, everything seems to take place in the evening and all 6 teenagers are home alone? Seriously?!

4) American teenagers can spend a lot of time chatting in front of a computer and phones even when something is using it to kill them

5) Everyone thinks they're blameless or just have memories like a goldfish

6) I do not want to go watch a movie where all I see is a computer screen and I don't have control over it

7) MacBooks/Apple are easily hacked/trolled by spirits from beyond as well as Skype, Facebook and Gmail, and some other stuff I can't remember...

HEY THANKS KLIPS.MY FOR THE MOVIE PASSES TO WATCH UNFRIENDED (which was previously supposed to be titled Cybernatural which actually sounds lamer than the current one...)



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