Unfriended (2015) is the latest in concept driven horror films as it is told through the use of the instant chat computer format that adds something new to a story that unfolds in relative real time from multiple perspectives. A group of online chat friends all get messages from a friend that killed herself due to a prank that one of them did to her. Now their friend wants to know who is responsible for the prank and will continue to kill them one by one until the truth is finally revealed. As time runs out these friends will truly get to know one another as they are each forced to reveal their own deep and dark secrets or risk being the next victim of an unseen killer.
Written by Nelson Greaves and directed by Levan Gabriadze the film gets a lot of mileage from a basic horror film concept that has a unique new way of telling the story. The film is more concerned about revealing character and deadly secrets than it is about showing the newt “jump scare” which is where the film really excels. This could have been a very mediocre film but Greaves and Gabriadze does a fantastic job with relying on practically FX and suspense to build genuine tension. This is added by Adam Sidman’s cinematography which even with the limitations of the chat room format does an excellent job in both creating tension and driving the film forward.
The film hinges on the relative faces of newcomers as the online chat room format necessitates a lot more close-ups and enclosed angles and everyone does a great job and are immensely believable and diversified which is important with a film in which you are stuck with the same characters from beginning to end. Overall there are many who might lump this film into the same category as the found footage film but this is an interesting experiment that pays off in the same way that the Paranormal Activity films do.