Unfriended  (2014)

Octoblur 2015 - #01: Unfriended (2014)

 
By dorrk, October 2nd 2015
Octoblur: If the quality doesn't scare you the quantity will.

Unfriended is a gimmick that has no right being as good as it is. It's by no means a great horror movie; in fact, the brief "scare" moments are the worst parts, and almost play like parodies. However, the first hour of the movie is so ingeniously constructed, that it deserves respect just for committing to its unique limited storytelling concept and finding ways to keep it fairly compelling for about an hour.

Directed by Levan Gabriadze and written by Nelson Greaves, Unfriended is told in real-time and in what seems like a single shot of a teenage girl's computer desktop. She chats and skypes with her boyfriend and a few other friends, but a mysterious interloper somehow inserts itself into their group call. It seems like a glitch, until they all begin receiving chat and Facebook messages from the accounts of a girl who committed suicide one year earlier.

If you've seen any of the 14 million found footage horror movies released since Blair Witch Project — and especially Paranormal Activity — there are no worthwhile surprises in Unfriended, except for how well Greaves and Gabriadze make use of real social media web sites and communication apps to keep the story moving and build tension. the movie rarely stoops to the use of the fake over-designed UIs that plague so many technology-centric movies and TV shows, but grounds itself firmly in the software that just about every viewer already uses on a daily basis. the minimalist sound design is incredibly important and effective: there is no music that isn't practically sourced and very little of that, with long scenes which only consist of the sounds of typing and alert notifications, which gives the movie a surprisingly tense edge until it devolves into a shouting match during the third act.

Unfriended's second biggest asset is Shelley Hennig, who has a good, natural presence and does an excellent job anchoring the movie from her tiny Skype window. She has the easy appeal of Charisma Carpenter mixed with Linda Cardellini, and without her understated charm Unfriended could have been an altogether more tedious experience. the rest of the cast is fairly bland, but does a mostly decent a job given the restricted windows through which their performances are presented.

I wish Unfriended could have come up with a better ending that had more of a lasting feeling of dread instead of the same-old jump scare, and that it had been as clever in its overall story as it was put together, but it was not a bad 82 minutes. I just hope there are no imitators. Those will get old quickly.

Great lesser-known horror movies

Fun, weird & dark corners worth exploring.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981)

The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

The Johnsons (1992)

The Johnsons (1992)

Kill List (2011)

Kill List (2011)

Little Otik (2001)

Little Otik (2001)

Motel Hell (1980)

Motel Hell (1980)

Orphan (2009)

Orphan (2009)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Seed Of Chucky (2004)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Spider Baby... (1968)

Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (2014)

The Stepfather (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)

Dorrk's Top 20 horror movies

The boring list of horror essentials. If you haven't seen these yet, what are you doing?
The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist (1973)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)

Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)

The Thing (1982)

The Thing (1982)

The Fly (1986)

The Fly (1986)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)

Poltergeist (1982)

Poltergeist (1982)

Alien (1979)

Alien (1979)

The Omen (1976)

The Omen (1976)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby (1968)

Halloween (1978)

Halloween (1978)

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu (1922)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 (1986)

Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Suicide Club (2001)

Suicide Club (2001)

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion (1965)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride Of Frankenstein (1935)

Trailer for Unfriended (2014)

Beware: Galleries may contain spoilers.
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The Godfather

The Top 20 Movies of All-Time

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

#1: The Godfather Part II (1974)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#2: The Godfather (1972)

#2: The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#3: West Side Story (1961)

#3: West Side Story (1961)

Dir: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise
#4: Manhattan (1979)

#4: Manhattan (1979)

Dir: Woody Allen
#5: The Graduate (1967)

#5: The Graduate (1967)

Dir: Mike Nichols
#6: Tootsie (1982)

#6: Tootsie (1982)

Dir: Sydney Pollack
#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

#7: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola
#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

#8: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Dir: Irvin Kershner
#9: Star Wars (1977)

#9: Star Wars (1977)

Dir: George Lucas
#10: The Exorcist (1973)

#10: The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin
#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

#11: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Dir: Peter Jackson
#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

#12: Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese
#13: Annie Hall (1977)

#13: Annie Hall (1977)

Dir: Woody Allen
#14: Vertigo (1958)

#14: Vertigo (1958)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock
#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

#15: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Dir: Steven Spielberg
#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

#16: Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson
#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

#17: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Dir: Tobe Hooper
#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

#18: It's a Wonderful Life (1944)

Dir: Frank Capra
#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

#19: Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Dir: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
#20: Zodiac (2007)

#20: Zodiac (2007)

Dir: David Fincher