Friend Request (2016) | Review

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Plot Summary:
When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.

One thing all horror films seem to have in common is finding something often seen as “normal” and typically not scary. Like moving into a new house, or going camping. That’s why it always starts happy-go-lucky before the inevitable crap hits the fan. So what else is normal that they could use to their advantage? Could it possibly be social media, something we use more than anything else? Maybe on some level. If you could scare someone who loves using social media, that would be big…but you have to do it right. Friend Request started out interesting and then something horrible happened, and I’m not entirely sure what.

fbThere’s always that one strange person in class, right? The loner that no one ever talks to because they are weird. You know, the one emo in a school that has no emo people. Well, they also have a Facebook page, which one unfortunate student found out. You see, the emo chick asked the normal chick to be friends on Facebook, and the normal chick said, “okay!”. Cue Single White Female as the emo chick is elated to learn she finally has a friend, and begins getting creepy with it. So normal chick declines friendship, emo girl kills herself and haunts normal girl so she too, can learn what true loneliness feels like.

I liked how this film began because to be completely honest, the emo girl was interesting, quite possibly the most interesting character on screen. In fact, because cyber-bullying is such an interesting and captivating subject, the audience can sort of connect with her. The movie begins to introduce a misunderstood, hurt person who has never had a friend before. Then that is taken away from her from the main protagonist who you’re supposed to like…but you kind of hate instead, and that is where the movie begins to fail.

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The filmmakers clearly wanted you to be creeped out by the emo girl, but I instead felt bad for her. That laid a foundation that crumbled the second the nice, normal girl decided to ignore her and unfriend her. Suddenly, I was on the side of the antagonist of the film and wanted everyone to die for what they did. In my opinion, that means the filmmakers didn’t succeed in what they were going for. They failed in an almost completely polar opposite way. If I want the people to die, then I don’t care about their characters and therefore sense no danger – even though the entire movie is about danger. If this was an equation, I’d say it would equal “boredom”.

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While this film has a good idea of what it wants to do, no one has really been able to do it correctly. Unfriended was probably the closest to doing a good job, but other than that…it’s hard to create a paranormal social media movie. It just doesn’t work because it’s just way too unbelievable. I believe in internet addiction, and taking social media way too personally, but haunting someone who unfriended you goes above and beyond – especially when they use digital means to do so. Haunting on its own is one thing…controlling Facebook from beyond the grave is another thing entirely.

For what it is, this is still one of the first in what I suspect to be many horror films based off of social media…however unfortunate that may be. Check it out!

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