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Unfriended

‘Unfriended’ spins a new twist on the found-footage horror genre.  With recent entries indicating a slow demise with most possibilities used, ‘Unfriended’ finds a fresh slant.  Using effects of bullying as its central motif, the story conjures genuine tension.  Unlike recent horror films, ‘Unfriended’ crafts an unsettling mood beyond the shadows of cyberspace.

 

A year after fellow classmate Laura committed suicide, six friends gather for an on-line Skype chat.  Among them are Lily (Shelly Hennig) and Jess (Renee Olstead).  Feeling guilty over their harsh treatment which led to Laura’s death, they attempt to bury the past.  When someone logs onto Laura’s old Skype account threatening bloody vengeance, fear grips them.  Soon the spectre of death lashes the group in a vice of sheer terror.

 

‘Unfriended’ is a serviceable shocker without being overly scary.  In an effort to create its own vibe, overblown musical cues and cheap ‘shock-jumps’ are discarded.  By focussing on mood and characters to generate thrills, most of the time ‘Unfriended’ succeeds even if the smart concept often works against it.  The static Skype boxes in which the characters interact leaves little room for movement making events a little dull.  This occasionally makes ‘Unfriended’ drag where it should be a constant thrill-ride.  

 

The idea of someone using the internet as a tool for revenge is mostly well handled.  The use of urban legends and distrust amongst the unwitting participants also provides a decent level of engagement.  The cast competently conform to their teenage stereotypes with some skill without being memorable.  They could have been helped by better pacing and direction although they manage to further enhance the mood of dread permeating their lives.

 

Agreeably free of CGI and clunky plotting, ‘Unfriended’ is a decent chiller.  It isn’t the greatest but it may remind viewers to be more careful in their future on-line sojourns.

 

Rating out of 10:  6

 

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