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Chilling and hysterical
UNFRIENDED (Levan Gabriadze). 83 minutes. Opens Friday (April 17). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Where to watch: iTunes
Taking the next evolutionary step from the found footage genre, Unfriended is a chilling and hysterical horror movie set entirely on a laptop screen, effectively conjuring jolts in video chat rooms and Google searches.
The screen belongs to popular teen Blaire (Shelley Hennig), whose clique has some sins to answer for. As we soon find out, so much can happen on her Facebook, Skype, Google, Chatroulette and even her Spotify playlist especially when that shit is haunted.
As Blaire enjoys a group Skype chat with her crew, talking prom and planning concerts, she gets pinged, poked and terrorized by a ghostly profile belonging to a bullied friend who committed suicide a year prior. This vengeful banshee knows what’s hiding in their cache and uses it to mess with their heads before reaching out beyond the screen and offing them one by one.
Queue the scary emoticons!
There are so many ways this experimental set-up could have gone wrong, and certainly there are plenty of holes you can poke at. But what writer Nelson Greaves and director Levan Gabriadze pull off within the confines of a laptop is pretty amazing.
They let you learn about Blaire by following her cursor, seeing what she views, types, deletes and rephrases before hitting send. They also translate horror conventions fluidly so that you hold your breath not when you’re waiting for what’s behind the door but for what’s buffering.
Faulty Wi-Fi has never been so terrifying.