While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. A first they think it's a prank, but when the girl starts revealing the friends' darkest secrets, they realize they are dealing with something out of this world, something that wants them dead.
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★★★★ review by Lucy on Letterboxd
do they know the computer has an off button
★★★½ review by Peter Labuza on Letterboxd
From an email I sent to a mentor of mine:
It's a "desktop" horror film that I think should interest you—not because of its "New Media" techniques but because of how it uses the visual language of the desktop to appeal to the classicist functions of narrative and suspense. There are many elements—rephrasing typing, a cursor spinning over a button, lagging, and notification sounds—that work as social codes that the contemporary audience is familiar with, and then they are exploited in the film to move the narrative into a direct plot with psychological motivation at every moment. I found that last part particularly well played, as just by following the typing or cursor movements, the film gives us direct access to the character's internal emotions within the plot structure without having the need to show her face (except within the Skype moments) or rely on classical editing to create meaning.
I also think the use of the desktop plays with our cognitive screen watching — there are many moments where our eyes our averted to one spot in the screen (a notification on the top right), which allows the director to set something up on the other bottom corner without us necessarily noting the construction happening. There's all the hubbub these days about the possibility of New Media forming some sort of new cinematic style, but what I appreciated especially about this movie was how it used common technology tropes (at least for a younger person like me) to create suspense within a narrative framework that appeals to the classic norms of Hollywood.
★★★★ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
One of the stronger conceptual horror outputs of recent years, almost like a cross between Zachary Donohue's equally intense (and more cleverly concluded) The Den (2013) & Ben Chanan's concisely crafted Cyberbully (2015). All three are successful projects in my eyes. Five aspects that make Unfriended stand out as superior to a lot of contemporary horror flicks are its uncomfortably distorted visual aesthetic; its patient and quick-witted direction; its realized and relatively dedicated performances from the young cast; its complete and total un-reliance on jump scares and its group-Skype-call structure, which quickly pulled me in and kept me mesmerized by the chaos all throughout its brief and appropriate <90 minute runtime. Certainly not perfect, but very good, enjoyable stuff nonetheless.
The infinite and timeless expanse,
of the ever-growing cyberspace.
And all of the evil that inhabits it:
"what u've done will live here forever"
★★★★½ review by Josh Larsen on Letterboxd
We're all still making our 2015 top ten lists, right? (Full review here.)
★★★★½ review by Ava Davis on Letterboxd
blaire doesnt know how to use a computer and everyone bullies her about it for an hour and twenty minutes
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