Unfriended Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Universal Pictures
Directed by Levan Gabriadze
Written by Nelson Greaves
2015, 89 minutes, Rated R
Theatrical premiere on April 17th, 2015
Starring:Shelley Hennig as Blaire
Moses Jacob Storm as Mitch Roussel
Will Peltz as Adam Sewell
Renee Olstead as Jess Felton
While it hardly needs to be said that middle-upper-class teenagers from Fresno are the WORST, Unfriended goes not-far-enough out of the way to show us, yeah, bullies suck.
Perfect (despite being brunette) Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is a bit down that her former best friend Laura shot herself in front of the senior class because an embarrassing video surfaces after a drunken party. And that someone filmed the suicide and put it online. But not so down that she doesn’t want to Skype with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm) about finally making prom night their “special night”. Their attempt to cyber is broken up when four callers join their chat – three friends they know; one unnamed person they don’t. Eventually they figure out the username of their mysterious caller: Laura. Needless to say she has her revenge.
GOOD. FUCK THOSE KIDS.
This premise is stupid. We know kids are destroying one another’s lives via social media. Every day teenagers are killing themselves over bullshit their shitty classmates post on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, everywhere. Suicide is encouraged, mocked, and turned into entertainment. And Unfriended does nothing to address the reality of this issue. Where is the call to address this madness? Where is the demand to behave like compassionate humans again? Beautiful white teenagers scream into their webcams while the ghost of their fallen friend hunts them down for their part in her destruction. But when Blaire has one moment of standing up for Laura’s outbursts as a result of childhood abuse, she deletes her chat comment before sending it. She backs down from her fight for her friend and lets those who call her a bitch win. Unfriended had a chance to champion the end of bullying, but let it pass.
Laura eventually forces each of them to confess to the rotten, disgusting things they’ve done to one another behind their backs: rumors, infidelity, theft. But we’re still supposed to pity them for their fear. Why? None of them were sorry they drove a sixteen year old to shoot herself in the face. Her grieving parents are never mentioned. If she had siblings left to deal with their loss, it’s never addressed. It’s just a video clip; a two-minute video where no one runs to Laura to try to stop her. They only care now because it directly affects their selfish lives.
I will give credit that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a movie shot the way we live life: through a computer screen. Everything takes place from Blaire’s point of view. You watch everything happen helplessly from your Mac laptop as your friends are hunted down. Clever. I like how when Blaire is side-chatting on Skype the audio dims, just as our concentration dims when we focus on one thing (multi-tasking is a lie, people).
This movie turns a national tragedy and our failure as human beings into cheap scares. Fuck you, Unfriended.