Genre – Horror
Run Time – 83 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 3 Nominations
Amazon – £3,00 DVD £7.49 Blue Ray
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Facebook claim to have 1 billion active users in 2017. Baring in mind there are only 4 billion adults on the Earth and at least 1 billion don’t have internet connections it’s fairly obvious many people have one more than account, no doubt creating anonymous alto egos to get up to all sorts. The internet is an unregulated Wild West of frightening yet exciting proportions and anything goes, why so many of us have square eyes (that’s why they are dry in the mornings) and stopped going to overpriced pubs and noisy cinemas at the weekends. Your phone is far more fun than real life.
Sadly Facebook and the like are unregulated and anyone can join and do just about anything there, some with malice, especially with the new Facebook live applet, like a suicidal father killing his son or a psychopath randomly killing a man in the street. I watched that video and to see a guy do for real what we see guys do in the movies for fake was quite a chilling experience, someone just like you and me, as calm as can be, narrating to his smartphone that he is about to pick a random guy and waste him. Fortunately the shooter was a middle aged black guy who shot an old black guy and so the news cycle was short. If it was white guy shooting a black guy then…well.
Unfriended is rather unique approach to film with the whole 83 minutes being a computer screen as teenage friends chat away on webcams using various social media sites to interact. For authenticity all of the Facebook and Skype characters account shown in the film, actually exist and can be found on Facebook and Skype which, under facebooks "memorialise" function, a deceased friends Facebook account can have an afterlife and so you can chat to them, the subject of this innovative but shouty horror.
For its $1million budget this was a big hit, pulling in 64 fold at $64 million. Its opening weekend was the biggest debut for an original horror movie since The Conjuring, which opened with $41.9 million in July 2013.Its inspired by the actual suicides of Americans Amanda Todd and Audri Pott. It sounded like a film to checkout.
• Shelley Hennig as Blaire Lily
• Moses Jacob Storm as Mitch Roussel
• Renee Olstead as Jessica "Jess" Felton
• Will Peltz as Adam Sewell
• Jacob Wysocki as Ken Smith
• Courtney Halverson as Valerie "Val" Rommel
• Heather Sossaman as Laura Barns
• Mickey River as Dank Jimmy
• Cal Barnes as Rando Pauls
• Matthew Bohrer as Matt
• Christa Hartsock as Chatroulette Girl
In Fresno, California, high school student Laura Barns is relentlessly bullied - on and offline - after a video of her passing out and soiling herself at a party is posted up on YouTube without her knowing, causing her to top herself in public, with a video of her suicide appearing on LiveLeak.
It’s a year later and her former best friend Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is in a Skype chat with boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm) and their classmates Jess (Renee Olstead), Ken (Jacob Wysocki), and Adam (Will Peltz). In group cam chat they notices a user named "billie227", who was not invited by any of the group. After unsuccessful attempts to dump the user, the suspicion is the group suspect’s classmate Val Rommel (Courtney Halverson) is pranking them. After they invite Val to their chat, Jess's Facebook page is updated with racy photos of Val at a party. Jess insists she didn’t upload them and deletes them; only for the pictures reappear on Adam's account. "
Val calls the police to report online abuse, and signs off Skype. Blaire is then sent a link to a screenshot of a past message in which Val told Laura Barns to kill herself. Val is suddenly brought back into the chat, but then is shown falling to the floor on her cam. They call the cops to see if she is OK but the five classmates soon learning that Val is dead, and that the police have ruled it as a suicide. And so goes the online battle with the troll, releasing more and more private stuff that drives a wedge between the friends, stuff only they know. But with one dead already it seems the cyber stalker is not finished with them yet and, perhaps, taking revenge for Laura.
It started out OK but once the originality of the idea is absorbed the general silliness starts and it becomes one of those horrors you start giggling at for being so absurd. Why didn’t they just switch of the computer and go for a walk? I know it’s our worse cyber nightmare if someone hacks, or gets control, of our Facebook page and posts up all sorts but you can just unfriend someone to stop all that. As the jeopardy rises for out gorgeous teenagers start shrieking and sobbing and you can’t but start pulling for the murderer to take them out!
The director tried his best and to keep the film suspenseful and somewhat believable, each take had script alterations on the hoof and the cast encouraged improvising and reacting to the unexpected story changes to increase tension and surprise in the films look. It was all filmed in one house with all the cast members in different rooms. It was actress Shelley Hennig's idea to the producers to have them act out the entire film in one single take, after going through long takes lasting ten minutes. That was nota good idea and makes the film to obtuse and unreal, defeating the whole point that our online selves are an exaggerated version of ourselves. Again, I can imagine the whole cinema in America chanting ‘kill the bitch’. Needless to say Unfriended 2 is on the way.
As a horror film there are no thrills and scares to be had. It’s just too obtuse to be credible. The found footage style works to some extent and you can’t argue with the imaginative filmmaking here but it needed to be smarter and more credible. The acting starts of well from the unknown cast but soon gets to shrieky and American. It tackles the scourge of online bullying but doesn’t help.
Imdb.com – 5.6/10.0 (50,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 62% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com –59 % critic’s approval
-Deleted Scenes –
-Unfriended: How we did the movie-
The Sun –‘A series of disappointingly tame confrontations involving a lot of video interference and shrieking’.
Times UK –‘In the cinema, the static setup, fuzzy, pixellating Skype faces, and the parps of incoming messages all become profoundly irritating’.
New Statesman –‘Being up to date is not the same thing as being on the ball, and Unfriended could afford to be cleverer’
Guardians –‘’Unfriended is from a new generation: film-makers who now have the web in their bloodstream, for whom online interaction is a natural part of life. They've used a new language to create a smart, ingenious, subversive and scary movie’.
Red Eye –‘[Cursed with] the common horror movie problem of being unintentionally hilarious’.
The NY Times –‘Unfriended is a well-executed, refreshingly innovative little horror movie featuring teenagers behaving the way teenagers actually behave’.
This is a lovely theatre that I have visited on a number of occasions, most recently last weekend to see Bradley Cooper star in The Elephant Man. The original theatre was established in the 18th Century Georgian, although I believe the current building is from 1820 and externally it is a large and attractive theatre. I believe it holds 880 people. Nearest tube stations are Picadilly Circus and Charing Cross, so you have plenty of options for food and drink nearby.
I didn't book the tickets myself, but you can buy direct from the box office or online. Prices vary depending on the play and you can usually get good seats in the middle stalls or circle for £50 or less on some productions. This time we were in the Gallery (above the Upper Circle) for £13.50. The seats here are small 'benches' with arm dividers (rather than rests) and there is very little leg room. We had a clear (but high) view of the stage, my only comment would be that we sometimes struggled to hear some of the actors especially if someone coughed nearby and drowned them out. You are very high up here, and there are a lot of stairs to climb with no lift access due to the age of the building.
The theatre looked to be well maintained and didn't look shabby, but the lights are low.
There are a number of bars in the theatre - a vodka and diet coke and a bottle of beer was £9.40 which is pricey, about a pound more than a nearby pub. Sweets and crisps could also be purchased. Staff were polite and friendly and worked efficiently, so although it was busy you didn't really have a long wait. There are toilets in various parts too - for ye level they were up a further flight of stairs. They were clean but had a problem with water pressure so you had hand wipes instead. Expect to queue in the Ladies.
You can buy programmes from a number of sellers - for the last show it was £10 for a massive full colour programme, but I don't recall paying this much before.
Although this review is about the theatre itself, I really enjoyed the play and it is always a bonus when you get to see Bradley Cooper in his underpants :-)