July 30, 2015

VOD Review: Unfriended (2015)

We skipped seeing Unfriended when it hit theaters back in April, for the simple reason that we thought it looked awful. Sure, it puts an interesting spin on the typical Hand-Held/POV offering by using the Internet as its setting, but the whole thing just looked like it was going to be a mess that only teens would react positively to.

And that's basically what it was.

I'm a bit baffled at how so many Horror Critics raved or even semi-raved about this movie. Personal tastes aside, Unfriended wasn't a very good Horror movie. Sure, the demographic that the movie was aimed at probably loved it to the tune of "OMG it was literally the scariest movie ever!" but adults who have seen 100's, and potentially even 1000's of Horror movies thought their lives? I just don't get it.

Unfriended went on to make $54 million Worldwide off of a $1 million budget though, so what the hell do I know?

Unfriended is the story or a group of kids who are harassed online by the ghost of their former friend, Laura Barns, who killed herself after being bullied online. A year after Laura's suicide, Blaire, her boyfriend, and a group of their cronies are hanging out on Skype, having a chat, when a mysterious person named billie227 joins their group. bille227 is talking to them through Laura's old accounts, and knows things about each of them, like deep dark secret things. When she begins to post videos and pictures of them doing horrible and embarrassing things online, they quickly find that they are at her mercy.

So yeah, haunted Skype.

Try as they might, they can't get billie227 to go away, and they find themselves having to play her twisted games or be killed... which happens anyway, so I'm not really sure why they just don't unplug their computers and run like hell. As billie227/Laura begins to kill them off one by one, they scream into their webcams; call each other names; freak out; juggle communications between multiple people at once via video chat, text, IM, and cellphone; and sit there glued to their screens like idiots. So they pretty much do what most people do when they hang out together nowadays.

Cybernatural terror ensues.

We have to give Unfriended points for at least trying something original with the Found Footage conceit (which in this case, is more of a Live Footage sort of thing.) The movie also does one hell of a job of marketing itself, as Skype, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Chatroutlette are all used liberally to give it a relevant and timely setting. No Twitter though. Wonder why that is?

Some of the acting was pretty good here too, even if the material the actors was working with wasn't so hot.

Technology has been used in Horror to great effect in the past, One Missed Call and Pulse being the best examples (and we mean the J-Horror originals, not the half-assed American remakes.) Those movies were effective enough that they actually made us wary of computers and cell phones after watching them. At least for a little while.

Unfriended though really isn't very effective or scary at all; oh, it's clever in its mechanics, and so in that way it's fairly effective, but it didn't scare us. Not even a little bit. Unlikable characters probably didn't help matters much, but the whole "we've got to keep chatting or we die!" thing felt silly to us, and that premise barely built up any tension or dread to make us fear what was coming next. 

Truth told, the most terrifying part of the movie was trying to come to grips with the idea that teenagers can navigate a desktop with 30 open windows spread across the screen at one time. The teen melodrama was horrific too, but only insofar that we had to endure it for 90 minutes. Are there really groups of kids out there who all get on video chat together and "hang out" online with each other? And are they really that annoying when they do?

It's really hard to take this movie or its premise seriously. I get that the ghost has basically trapped them at their computers under pain of death, but they honestly do nothing besides sit there waiting to die. If you're screwed like that, it doesn't matter what you do, because whatever is out to get you is going to get you, but come on. The whole movie was basically watching a group of friends chat on Skype, with a cheap jump-scare thrown in every once in a while to keep things scary.

And as loud as the movie blatantly screams "Cyber-Bullying is bad!" at the top of its lungs, that message really doesn't ever hit home as being poignant. Maybe that's because all of the kids involved are made out to be one-dimensional jerks, not one of them having any sort of redeemable quality. Even the girl who was bullied to the point of killing herself was made out to be little more than a horrible asshole in life.

A bully is bullied to the point of suicide, and then her ghost comes back to bully the people who bullied her, before killing them. Exactly who are we supposed to have sympathy for here?

There were a few specific things stood out to us as making no sense.

  • Where were the parents of all these kids? They spend the entire movie screaming, having fits, smoking weed, and dying horrible deaths, and no one hears them? Were they all out bowling together or something? 
  • Again, a "Footage" movie that makes things freeze and go all pixely whenever something "scary" is supposed to be happening. Of course. 
  • Why did we not see more of the death scenes? As uneventful as this movie was, when something grisly does finally happen, all we get is a quick flash of it, or we only see the aftermath? 
  • Aside from some of the language, this could have been a Lifetime Movie of The Week. It was far more about teen melodrama and dysfunction between friends than it was Horror.

If the goal of this movie was to make us cheer, and even beg, for all of its characters to die painfully, then job well done. When those deaths do come however, they were more laughable than gory.

You'd figure that a movie about a bunch of idiots Skyping with one another would at least have some boobs or something, but no such luck.

So much of the movie is spent staring at chat screens while Blaire debates what to type, or watching countdowns, or waiting for videos to buffer, that we're not sure what's supposed to be scary about it. I mean, at the point where the movie actually turns into a game of Never Have I Ever, where everyone is forced to reveal "earth-shattering" secrets about themselves and each other, I asked myself who is actually supposed to enjoy watching this shit?

Then I abruptly realized, teenagers. You know, the demographic that this movie was made for to begin with.

Unfriended is a movie that deserves credit for taking the whole "Haunted Technology" idea to a new level, at least in a way. It's not scary at all, and at times it was actually laughable, but it took its story in a relatively new direction, and that's at least something.

The bottom line though is this: if you're a kid who spends a lot of time online, then this movie will probably terrify you to no end. If not, then its strong points, and there aren't many, will probably be lost on you, like they were us. In the end, it was just impossible for us to take this movie seriously enough for it to work.


Unfriended is available now on VOD.


One thing that can not be debated is the fact that Unfriended features a wealth of Eye Candy. If you want to see more of The Ladies of Unfriended, then check out their Hottie Post HERE.


  1. Unfriended is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I wondering if it isn't THE worst Horror film ever. It's certainly in contention. The Devil Inside is up there too with it's "go to this website" finale. Pathetic.

    1. Yeah, it was just bad and silly. I can honestly think of a lot worse Horror movies, but I won't argue against you saying that it's in contention.

  2. Thank you for your review; I almost bought this. A couple of guys at work did and boy were they unhappy the next day. Heh, heh.

    1. Suckers! lol

      i personally try to read at least a few reviews of a movie that I've never seen before buying it; renting it, I can be suckered a bit easier sometimes, but blind-buying is a dangerous practice these days.

      Glad you saved your $20. If you like buying movies, there's always plenty of them that are worth spenind your money on, and now you can.

  3. I actually kinda like it, although not make enough reason to own it. A lil' bit remind me of The Den and one of the segmen in V/H/S; The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger. But yes, I do agree with a bully who get bullied, which makes less symphaty. Unlike Carrie and the like.

  4. I also not that fond with the ending. Way too cheesy. I think it'd be much better if they made Blaire Lily get cyberbullied for the rest of her life, then suicide. But again, they made Laura Barns' character less symphaty, which unfortunate. As for the rest, I quite enjoyed it. I also noticed in one scene that this movie referenced to the Amanda Todd case.