Friend Request (2016)
Director: Simon Verhoeven
Friend Request follows and budding and unlikely short-lived friendship between popular high school girl Laura and token lone wolf goth kid Marina. A second attempt at a social media horror flick, Friend Request is (I imagine) just as diabolical as the predecessor of the genre Unfriended. (I say I imagine because I do try to steer clear from horror films that I just know in my core will be bad.) Marina becomes very overwhelming very quickly for Laura and as Laura deletes her from Facebook, Marina confronts her, kills herself and haunts Laura and her friends, picking them off one by one so Laura will know how it feels to be lonely. Sigh.
The poor character development and poor casting (one of the high school girls looks about 40, the one that looks like Sweet Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and poor performances are one thing but the story is just ludicrous at best. The film puts unhealthy social media addiction in the hands of ancient witchcraft and the ‘Black Mirror’ cult and leaves it to it’s own devices to go wild. The idea of trying to tie social media in to the horror film industry makes me cringe and it’s testament to who we are now and what the film industry thinks will scare teenagers.
The jump-fest was left wanting, it all escalated way too quickly for ridiculous reasons. A girl killed herself over being deleted from Facebook. Laura gradually loses all of her online friends from Facebook because of her mates dying around her and her profile posting videos of their various grisly demises. Surely that would work the other way around in the real world though… We are curious and we love what makes us mad or disgusted, the friend requests would be flooding in, not disappearing. It’s as if the writers have never lived as a teenager in this age of social media and have genuinely no idea how it is utilized or how teenagers even act this day in age, I found that embarrassing and painfully unrealistic. The film looked okay. That’s about the only positive I have.
All in all, see it if you want to though if you’re looking for terror, don’t waste your money. A couple of good jump scares got me but this film is better for being gawked and laughed at.
For fans of: Unfriended & Cyberbully