The movie Unfriended is based on an original and gripping premise. The story starts with events recalled in flashbacks: an embarrassing video of a high-school-aged girl, Laura Barns, is posted online. She is tormented by her peers until she commits suicide. The movie takes place almost entirely on a computer screen, in an online chat room, on the one-year anniversary of her death.
Seven people are in the chat room. Six are people that Laura knew in life. The seventh is Laura Barns’s account. Who is operating her account? It doesn’t take long before we find out.
To its credit, the movie does explore very relevant themes about the bad side of social networking: cyber bullying. This is a problem today and this movie shows the victim “getting back.” As you may have guessed, not everyone in the chat room will leave it alive. As the plot progresses, it becomes clear that Laura is tormenting these people because they were connected to her death in some way. This is an interesting take on cyber bullying, with the victim becoming a vengeful spirit. You might even find yourself rooting for the “evil” side.
It’s too bad that all of this promise goes mostly unfulfilled. Overall, the movie not that scary. It has some truly creepy scenes but too frequently it relies on loud “jump scares,” in which tension is built until a loud noise is blasted at you. Without the jump scares it would be just plain dull. There might be a great horror movie to be made about cyber bullying, but Unfriended isn’t it.