Mad and demented, but social
This imaginative and unsettling dissection of online discontents is a minor horror classic, writes
UNFRIENDED Directed by Levan Gabriadze. Starring Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman. 16 cert, gen release, 82 min Here is a high concept that is worth doing once and well. This hugely imaginative, genuinely unsettling dissection of current online discontents takes place entirely on the screen of one teenager’s laptop: her messaging programme, Instagram, Facebook, email and browser.
You could view it as a rare imaginative variation on the found-footage genre. It is also, despite inner split-screens and jump-cuts, technically a “single-shot” movie in the vein of Rope or Russian Ark. Most unusually of all, this moral horror is surely the first film ever that will play best on a laptop. This is no reason not to see Unfriended in the cinema.
The story begins in dubious territory by showing us footage of a suicide that resulted from the spread of an embarrassing video shot at a boozy party. Six teenagers come together on Skype to ponder this while attention meanders among other communication programmes on their desktops.
But who is this anonymous user who keeps intruding on their conversation? Is it the dead girl seeking revenge from beyond the grave? Is it merely a spoofer playing a cruel prank? Before too long, the kids are being knocked off in a contem-
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