Friday, October 27, 2017

[Review] Friend Request

2015's Unfriended was a surprisingly good social media horror film. The whole thing essentially took place on a computer screen via various apps like Facebook, iChat, YouTube, and Skype. It could've been a cheesy gimmick, but the film utilized its platform more cleverly than I think most gave it credit for, and it presented itself as a sometimes flawed yet relevant cautionary tale of cyber-bullying. This year's unrelated but similar-themed Friend Request is, well... *clicks dislike*

The plot zooms in on Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey), a popular college student who gets a friend request from a loner classmate with a goth aesthetic named Marina (Liesl Ahlers). After Marina crosses into extreme creeper territory, Laura hits the notorious 'Unfriend' button. Marina then commits suicide, and Laura is haunted by a vengeful, demonic presence -- both on the Internet and in real life.

It's kind of a forced setup, isn't it? The film's terror factor relies solely on jarring jump scares, but they're less well-executed than they are irritating -- like those online prank videos where something loudly appears and nearly gives you a heart-attack. Exactly like that, actually. The story is full of shallow and stereotypical characterizations, and it has a questionably-motivated cruel streak to it. And once Marina's spirit begins attacking all of Laura's friends, this thing becomes nothing more than a haphazard, meaningless game of Final Destination with a few pop-up notifications.

Simply put, Friend Request is a film should've deleted its own account.

( 3/10 )

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