Unfriended Blu-ray Review
In the first clip in UNFRIENDED, a teenage girl named Laura kills herself in public. In the second, the likely reason is revealed. In the third, Laura’s best friend Blaire (Shelley Hennig, MTV’s TEEN WOLF) Skypes with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Storm, in his debut). The flirting escalates, but before she can offer a full frontal, they’re interrupted by friends—Jess (Renee Olstead, THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER), Ken (Jacob Wysocki, 2012’s FAT KID RULES THE WORLD) and Adam (Will Peltz, who had a small role in Jason Reitman’s MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN)—for a group chat.
They’re also joined by a mysterious user whose image doesn’t appear. One suggests it’s a hacker, another a ghost. From there, they begin getting Facebook messages from Laura. Blaire unfriends Laura and immediately gets a response: “u shouldn’t have done that, Blaire. i want your help.” After another Facebook kerfuffle involving another classmate, Val (Courtney Halverson, After Dark entry RED CLOVER), the group gets a message from their anonymous friend: “guess who.” And if the audience hasn’t guessed who by now, they’re probably still filling out Xanga surveys.
Directed by Leo Gabriadze (2011’s LUCKY TROUBLE), UNFRIENDED unfolds entirely through the means of Skype, Facebook, YouTube, Google and Chatroulette. That only computer screens are used to tell the story is unique, and, surprisingly, it’s not as distracting as it might initially seem. It’s an effective gimmick and possibly the best way to go about such a story, and really the only issues that come out of this are that text is often hard to read and the stream of Skype call and instant message noises, which bloop throughout the entire movie, grow irritating.
It’s a bit unsettling how the filmmakers would use cyberbullying as a catalyst for a series of teen murders (including one with a blender). While clearly this isn’t the sort of movie that would take the time to analyze the reasons and issues of it, UNFRIENDED might be a less shameful effort if the teens weren’t targeted by a classmate who killed themselves for being mocked, something that appears in the news far too often. Instead, the closest it gets to any form of insight is the game of Never Have I Ever, which throws out dirty little secrets that the audience couldn’t possibly care about.
UNFRIENDED is about as modern of a ghost story as today’s crowd is likely to get. But that’s not necessarily a compliment, since every teen in the movie is dumb, naïve and so obsessed with their computer screens that they can’t make a rational decision. Still, its target audience might not pick up on this and will instead find it a welcome addition to their Saturday night.
Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Considering the method in which UNFRIENDED is told, the video is actually satisfactory. While the color range is far from great and the details aren’t entirely textured, the transfer is passable considering its limitations.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Subtitles in English. Similarly, the audio is fine considering the movie’s intentions.