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

The Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship schedule is set. The No. 4 seed Miami Hurricanes ...

The first regular season of Gino DiMare’s head-coaching era ended Saturday at Mark Light Field. But ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ hopes for hosting an NCAA regional were damaged a bit on Friday night by a 12- ...

It took a long time for Dewan Hernandez to reach a point of acceptance for what happened to his juni ...

The life of a fullback isn’t always glamorous, even 15 years ago before the position was essentially ...

The University of Miami is shaping the future of education by using innovative approaches that drive ...

Six short films created by University of Miami film students will be screened in Los Angeles this we ...

Researchers from 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries, hosted by the Institute for the Advanced ...

Two University of Miami a cappella groups, Tufaan and BisCaydence, celebrated big wins in different ...

After Alabama’s governor signed into law the most-stringent anti-abortion bill in the nation, UM exp ...

The Canes are the top team in Pool D, joined by No. 5 North Carolina and No. 9 Virginia. ...

The matchups are set for the NCAA Singles Championship and NCAA Doubles Championship at the USTA Nat ...

Chris McMahon struck out six over five shutout innings to earn his first win since April 6. ...

Miami's Second Varsity Four earned a bronze medal at the 2019 ACC Rowing Championships Saturday ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team is the ITA Southeast Region Arthur Ashe ...

TMH Twitter
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.