A movie review of “Unfriended”: Consisting entirely of computer-screen shots of teens encountering a dead friend on Facebook, this “horror” movie makes the case for a “dislike” button. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
The teen horror movie “Unfriended” has at its core a concept that we had to know was coming: essentially, that a high-school girl wouldn’t let a little matter of being dead get in the way of being active on Facebook. For this film’s mercifully brief running time, we have six more-or-less faceless teens online — three girls, three boys — joined by another one, who may or may not be a girl named Laura who killed herself a year ago. Laura, or whoever is acting on her behalf, is understandably ticked off, and soon our shrieking teenage friends are facing Terrible Cyber-Danger From Forces Unknown and … sorry, I just had to go check my email.
As directed by Levan Gabriadze, “Unfriended” unfolds entirely on a computer screen, with its sound often solely consisting of the click of a mouse. Sitting in the audience, you feel trapped at your desk, your computer taken over by clueless people with short attention spans. Though it’s not entirely static — the video windows keep changing size — it’s visually a snooze, and the six characters are so small and blurry that we get little sense of them. (The occasionally creepy pixilating of their faces is a nice touch, though.) On “Unfriended” goes, with the teens saying “Ohmygod” a lot and Laura/Not Laura leading them in the world’s dullest round of Never Have I Ever, and I kept hoping a power outage would hit their neighborhood, or some sort of natural disaster. Aren’t the movies supposed to be a break from being online all the time? Though, when viewing “Unfriended,” you might want a laptop handy — to find something better to watch.
Movie Review ★½
‘Unfriended,’ with Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman. Directed by Levan Gabriadze, from a screenplay by Nelson Greaves. 82 minutes. Rated R for violent content, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug and alcohol use — all involving teens. Several theaters.