Campus horror about a loner goth girl trying to make friends, starring Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley and Liesl Ahlers and directed by Simon Verhoeven.
At first glance, this movie would appear to be either an imitation of or a sequel to last year’s similarly-titled teen-horror, Unfriended. While there are a few basic parallels – teenagers, technology, friendship, mistrust – in truth the previous picture was much more of a sci-fi shocker, while Unfriended is a traditional gory ‘make you jump’ style movie.
The story centres on your typical all-American girl at college, Laura: wholesome, intelligent, attractive and athletic. Naturally, she’s popular and comes from a loving family, gets good grades and eats green stuff in the university cafeteria … which is where we first meet her polar opposite, Marina.
She’s a loner, a bit of a goth, with no discernible circle of friends and a troubled disposition. She pulls her own hair out, wears a hoodie all the time, sits at the back and generally avoids all contact with the outside world until one day, completely out of the blue, she sends Laura a friend request on what looks suspiciously like Facebook (though app names may have been changed to avoid paying royalties).
So far, so social media.
Online is where our new friend really comes alive, unleashing her creative side and her timeline is awash with darkly beautiful animations, detailing her mysterious imagination in all its visceral detail. These haunting, enigmatic videos seem a touch too real for Laura though and it’s not long before she starts to wonder if she made the right decision in becoming her friend.
As the tale unfolds, more and more pressure mounts on Laura, both from Marina to spend time together and from her more cynical “real life” friends to dump her.
And that is where I must leave the plot for fear of spoilers.
Suffice to say, the pace cranks up once the titular ‘unfriending’ takes place, and builds to a crescendo towards a somewhat unpredictable and interesting denouement.
While nothing groundbreaking in any way, Friend Request is one of those horrors that leave questions unanswered, and for that I applaud it.
I would recommend seeing it with at least a couple of other people and preferably at an early evening showing. That way you can talk about it afterwards over a drink and help minimise the chance of nightmares when you do eventually go to bed.
Careful now .. it’s dark up there …