The advent of new technology has effectively killed so many old school horror cliches (it’s not easy to get lost in the woods when you have a tiny computer for a phone) that filmmakers working within the genre often have to work overtime to invent brand new cliches that complement the age of the iPhone. The ‘Unfriended’ trailer represents a movie that has clearly gotten the memo but decided to take things to the extreme. This isn’t just a horror movie that features all of the social networks and online tools you use on a regular basis, it’s a horror movie about those things. Dun, dun, duuuun!
The chief gimmick here is that he entire movie is told through a group Skype chat between a group of douchey teens who find themselves menaced by a mysterious presence demanding revenge. And who could blame this potentially supernatural, social media-wielding entity? One of these jerks posted a humiliating video of a girl to YouTube a few years back, leading to her suicide. So, of course they need to die horrible and humiliating deaths one-by-one while all of their friends are forced to watch from a video chat they cannot leave under the threat of their own vicious demise.
Although this is a unique format for a horror movie, it’s not a first. A segment in the horror anthology ‘V/H/S/’ was told entirely in a Skype chat and last year’s ‘Open Windows’ took place entirely on a computer screen. Still, ‘Unfriended’ represents this wacky, social media-driven extension of found footage attempting a leap into the actual mainstream. This is a horror movie that actually looks like it could play to a large audience of screaming, texting, YouTubing, Snapchatting young people. For those of us who track the shifting styles of horror with great fascination, this thing is a definite curiosity.
Oh, and this is really important: the original title for ‘Unfriended’ was ‘Cybernatural,’ which is a title that is somehow infinitely better while being infinitely worse. That change was a mistake!
Here’s the official synopsis:
Six high school friends with a dark secret receive a Skype message from a classmate who committed suicide a year ago after someone uploaded a video of her online.
‘Unfriended’ is set to murder you through your computer on April 17.