After experiencing what they think are a series of "break-ins", a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
While video chatting one night, six high school friends receive a Skype message from a classmate who killed herself exactly one year ago. At 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.Written by
Producer Timur Bekmambetov has revealed he wishes to do a string of films captured in the style of Unfriended spanning from Teenage Slasher Horror to Action, Fantasy, Romance and Comedy. See more »
The video that caused Laura Barns to commit suicide shouldn't even be on YouTube in the first place as one of the policies on YouTube is for bullying. See more »
[Laura fires upon herself on the high school basketball courts, a female student then screams as the teacher and crowd rush towards Laura's body and Blaire pauses the liveleak video]
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At the start, the Universal logo starts breaking up like a bad connection. See more »
In the FX broadcast, the voice acting is rerecorded to censor obscenities. Scenes were also re-edited (ie: Laura Barns party video) to censor inappropriate scenes. See more »
This film is certainly a breath fresh air in its genre. The execution is very unique for a full movie but even it you disregard that, it can stand on its feet as one of those "small group of people stuck together and they have talk to figure things out" sort of dramas. On the other hand if you expect a serious horror, you might be disappointed. This is about creating tension by exposing secrets at a figurative gunpoint. Not about scary supernatural things or jump scares. In other words the horror is in the theme, not the presentation. If that's what you are after it's as interesting and surprisingly satisfying story.
In terms of technique, the film is presented as Blaire's computer screen and this allows for the kind of multiple media (Skype, YouTube, Facebook, etc) storytelling that's usually limited to alternate reality games. It enables the characters to communicate each other privately which would be impossible if they were physically in the same room. It also means that every time someone is in trouble the helplessness of the others adds to the drama. Not all is perfect though. There are some cringey parts related to the scene, like Ken's anti-Trojan program looked about as authentic as the virus uploader from Independence Day and when you consider that Laura is not really a hacker it makes zero sense to find hundreds of infected files on a damn OSX! The question "what is a troll" and the answers were equally embarrassing in this day and age. The corrupted video compression that plagued the Skype calls served little purpose. It signified nothing and it was way too random. Usually effects like this exist to telegraph some "presence", but here the corruption started way too early. Another downside is that the cinematography was even more non-existent than with the usual found footage films, because it's face-time all the time.
They used an interesting technique to bring in music which is usually absent from found footage: Blaire has a Spotify player running in the background. Unfortunately this excellent idea was way underused and when it was used it was very on-the-nose. If you've ever watched an ARG like EveryMan Hybrid, where (distorted) music is used to communicate subtext or hidden messages you know what a missed opportunity this is!
Overall it's worth a shot. If you only watch films you might even find this ground breaking. But let me assure you - there is nothing here that hasn't been thoroughly explored by various web series you can find freely. Sadly this movie is another instance of old media trying to play catch-up with new media and not quite getting it.
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