Death from the Skype
Release Date: 1 May 15 | 83 minutes Director: Levan Gabriadze Cast: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Moses Jacob Storm, Shelley Hennig, Will Peltz
The concept of making a film set entirely within chat windows on a computer screen is not completely new: director Nacho Vigalondo used it last year for schlock thriller Open Windows. But Unfriended’s Levan Gabriadze takes things a step further in exploiting the idea of social media and how The Kids Today communicate with his new horror movie, a morality tale for our time that is much more successful in ambition than it is in execution.
Spurring this story is the suicide of Laura Barns, a high school student who shot herself after someone posted a video of her drunken antics and unleashed a wave of online scorn. We’re introduced to a group of friends who knew her, and are all meeting via Skype to discuss an upcoming event, flirting, joking or otherwise goofing off as they do so. But soon they’re also dying, as a malicious, mysterious entity that appears to be Laura’s various old accounts stalks them both virtually and in real life.
The concept is admirable and works to a certain level, but the characters prove almost uniformly unlikeable so there’s no real compulsion to root for them to escape this ghostly techno- menace. And while using the screen is initially different and entertaining, it soon becomes flat and grating, and the lack of real action means that you quickly tire of watching juddering videos flicker. There are some scares here, but Unfriended ends up so annoying it’s easy to disconnect. Unfriended was shot in very long takes – four times, the cast performed the entire film in one go.
Harry Styles still hadn’t followed her back.