Edge, Movies

‘Unfriended’ fails to connect with audiences

Though the dead can’t speak, in the movie “Unfriended,” a group of teenagers find themselves haunted in an online chat room by the account of their dead friend.

The Cinematic Arts Commission and Hurricane Productions hosted a screening at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Cosford Cinema before the film opens nationwide on Friday.

Directed by Levan Gabriadze, “Unfriended” begins by distorting the Universal Studios logo, as if a slow Internet connection were disrupting the movie. This stylized choice persists throughout the film, from the plot to the cinematography.

The story takes place solely on the computer of one of the protagonists, Blaire Lily (Shelley Hennig). The film begins with Blaire watching a video about the suicide of Laura Barns, a former classmate who took her life a year ago.

Blaire is soon joined in an online chat room by five of her classmates, who apparently have nothing else to do on a weekday besides talking on Skype. During the conversation, a seventh member joins their Skype call: Laura.

Laura’s account forces Blaire and her friends to play a deathly game where the loser and anyone who hangs up on the conversation, dies.

The friends learn that they have all betrayed each other in some way, and that they all contributed to Laura’s suicide.

“Unfriended” is targeting the phenomenon of cyberbullying, but unlikeable characters and distracting filmmaking techniques undermine this thematic message.

On a pettier note, they use texting abbreviations even though they have a full keyboard, and they use hackneyed lines like, “You’re really sexy when you’re violent.”

As far as trying to explain the ghostly phenomenon, the only answer the movie ever gives is from the first link on Google: unexplainedforums.net.

In between long pauses in conversation on Skype and emotional breakdowns, the video constantly glitches as if everyone had a bad Internet connection. The glitches conveniently cover the cuts in scenes and have the added bonus of prolonging suspense.

During our pre-screening, audiences were laughing more than screaming because of these long pauses.

To its credit, “Unfriended” is scary. The mystery shrouding the fates of the teenage protagonists paired with the blurry, grotesque scenes may contribute to some nightmares.

Overall, “Unfriended” offers few answers to its own questions. The theme of cyberbullying’s negative consequences prevails, but viewers will leave feeling as though they have just watched a movie they would rather forget – or unfriend.

Featured photo courtesy bakuku.net.

April 15, 2015

Reporters

Esther Ponce De Leon


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

One by one, they stepped up to the scale. First-round picks and long-shot prospects alike. Here, the ...

One day after the University of Miami announced that starting cornerback Malek Young would undergo “ ...

Miami Northwestern senior Nigel Bethel, a 5-11, 160-pounder who chose the Hurricanes over Central Fl ...

The University of Louisville coaching staff must have been puzzled watching tape of the Miami Hurric ...

It’s one thing for a player who’s projected to go in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft to turn p ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skill-building ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The Miami men's basketball team returns home at 8 p.m. Wednesday to battle Louisville at the so ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team has earned the first ACC Player of the ...

The Miami women's basketball team will take on fourth-ranked Louisville Thursday at 11 a.m., on ...

The No. 25/23 Miami men's basketball team shot a sizzling 57.6 percent from the field in pullin ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team picked up its third straight win in eight days ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.