Monday, April 27, 2015

Cinema Freaks LIVE: Unfriended (2015)

Welcome to our first sloppy attempt at doing an audio review of Unfriended. You can listen above for me and Michelle and our friend Mercedes talking about this film, but I'll also talk about it a bit down here as well - you know, for you poor saps looking at this in a cubicle at work or some shit. There are definite spoilers in the video and in this review, so if you really want to see this, don't read or listen to this yet.

This movie is getting a shitload of attention for being a found footage horror movie set all on Skype. The basic story is as follows: cyberbullied girl kills herself, then comes back for revenge on all the kids who had a part in bullying her through making a video and telling her to kill herself, etc. Conveniently all of them are online and chatting on Skype exactly when she decides to enact this revenge.

The title and plot sound like an SNL skit more than a serious movie. Unfriended? Really? But the actual movie, in practice, isn't too bad or anything. I've certainly seen worse found footage films, and at least this one is putting a new, unique spin on things. The film IS set only on Skype and only in these characters' rooms - a lot of movies like this tend to stretch it and have characters using their webcams while walking outside, or in any random room they happen to be in, and that isn't really how we act in real life. Not most of us, anyway...

The acting is actually surprisingly good, and you can believe these people as shitty, petty, cat fighting high school cliques who keep stabbing one another in the back. They're not good characters for the most part, but they're believable for this story at least. You know, unless you wanted people who actually looked high school aged. These people were either held back several times in school and have now become bitter as a result of a perpetual loop of high school clique (which would explain a lot), or they're actors in their 30s. Pick your own answer.

Plotwise it's pretty basic; just an anti-bullying story and nothing else. It's not done with any particular subtlety. One of the main things that really irritated me about this was how silly all the reveals were that all these characters had done bad stuff to the dead girl. Like they kept denying it and shit and then the ghost would prod some more, they would scream and cry about how sorry they were, and then they would die. This happened over and over again, and we were supposed to be surprised when one of them had done something bad - but after a while it was just stale. Too many long scenes of the characters just screaming at each other and crying gets grating in general. My ears!

Overall it really is more of a funny movie than anything scary. A few of the deaths aren't bad, but really with this set up, over Skype and all, it's near impossible to make a death scene anything less than ridiculous. The movie has fun with the deaths though, and doesn't try to get too supernatural on you or anything. It's more worth seeing for the visual style than the story - the way the film uses the computer desktop and the mouse cursors and Skype text chatting to convey story and character is pretty interesting and well done. Even when the film itself can drag or get too irritating to listen to, the visual style was obviously well thought out and constructed.

If you already hate the premise and don't want to be impressed, well, you'll hate the movie. But if you're like us and actually want to see what the fuck they could possibly do with a Skype horror film, check it out, it's worth your time for at least that one viewing. All I gotta say is, I'm staying off Skype next time I decide to humiliate someone to the point of suicide.