It was only a matter of time until someone conceived of a Skype horror film. Unfriended commences with a group of friends embarking on a multi-video chat, who subsequently find themselves stalked by a mysterious presence who assumes the online identity of their deceased friend.
That friend committed suicide a year earlier as a result of cyber-bulling connected to a drunken incident that was insensitively uploaded onto YouTube, and the entity is out for revenge against the perpetrators that humiliated her. You can no longer hide in this creepily confined cyberworld.
Unfolding over real-time, Unfriended uses everyday audio and visual screen iconography, which take on a whole new chilling dimension and whacks up suspense levels tenfold. Events never venture away from the protagonist’s desktop, thus placing the viewer in an inescapable position that utilises all our online devices and retools them to terrorise!
Where the film occasionally grates, however, is in the overwrought performances from a ragbag of stock horror characters, whose guilty revelations leave very little to the imagination.
However, the demise of one of the early victims is nicely orchestrated, and leads to an eerily off-guard moment for those not paying closer attention.
The genius of Unfriended is that it reveals more about our frighteningly increasing reliance on cyber-technology as a secure social tool than we might care to admit. So when that ‘safe zone’ is invaded and there are severe consequences for insensitive actions it becomes a deeply unsettling, terrifyingly relatable and highly claustrophobic prospect indeed.