I think a part of me will always have a place in my heart for the typical teen horror flick. After all, I grew up in the generation that breeded the Scream series and I Know What You Did Last Summer. So when I saw the commercial for Unfriended, I knew I had to watch it.
Unfriended incorporates the now popular techniques that the movie series Paranormal Activity uses. There are quick “scene flashes”, loud background noises, and shocking bits of blood and gore here and there just for good measure. The plot is essentially this: high school student Laura Barns is cyber bullied into killing herself. A year later, on the anniversary of her death, her friends are targeted by an avenging killer. The movie teases whether the the killer is a friend of Laura Barnes or Laura herself. The movie toys with its viewers on what the explanation could be.
Unfortunately, the one thing Unfriended didn’t incorporate that Paranormal Activity did are interesting ideas. Yes, the concept is somewhat original-friends are trapped on a video phone call with a murderer. However, the story itself is just not very deep. I found myself searching for more to plug those empty spaces. The plot just wasn’t enough to fill the time slot of an hour and a half movie. I think it could have been wrapped up in an hour at the longest. I also didn’t really care about the characters. We, as an audience, are supposed to believe that these are typical teenagers. But if they are, I don’t have any interest in knowing them. The characters are incredibly cliché. There’s the good girl, the good guy, the bad boy, the slut, the bitch, and the funny guy.
I get that the movie was probably trying to relate to all types of viewers, but it felt a little dumbed down. The characters themselves didn’t have very much depth. I didn’t feel connected to them at all because they were just too generalized. Honestly, I was very disappointed by this movie. As I was watching, I kept hoping for a twist at the end, but instead I was met with a transparent ending that just left me feeling hollow. Unfriended felt a little bit like a one night stand you didn’t plan for-and sadly, the ending credits feel like “the walk of shame”.
If you are in the mood for a twist on a teenage horror thriller, may I suggest the two 1990’s classics I mentioned earlier- Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer instead. Those two movies contain the clichés we all know and love (slut, good girl, bad boy), but with a little more of a backstory. For instance, in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Sarah Michelle Gellar may be the local Croaker Pageant Queen, but she also has a dad who ignores her, a sister who is bitter that she had to help raise her, and she doesn’t make it to college. Damn girl, I think we can all feel a little bit sorry for you in that case.
In the first Scream movie, the main group of teenage characters are obsessed with horror movies-something to which we horror geeks can wholeheartedly relate. Although their obsessions with surprise endings, long reaching plots, and the characteristics of a good horror movie may seem a little bit adult, I still can’t help but cheer on that fact that I couldn’t figure out the twist until close to the end. Also, Neve Campbell does a good job of channeling Horror Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis of the movie Halloween (another good-time teenage horror classic you should familiarize yourself with if you haven’t already).
In short, I wouldn’t recommended Unfriended. Don’t watch it. Just don’t. Sorry, it simply wasn’t for me. Just in case you can’t help yourself and you want to see the movie, here is the trailer. Unfortunately, the best parts are in the trailer.
(Please be warned that the trailer does have some blood and gore in it)
Curious about Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer? Then feast your eyes on these movie trailers, boys and girls.