Social media is a phenomenon that is happily enjoyed by a younger generation (I’m not using that term that journalists and stuffy article writers bounce around too much.) However, its connotations are feverishly feared by the elders who deem it a blight of society as if we were all in a utopia of humanity before that evil Mark Zuckerberg introduced us all to Facebook. Hurr durr blurr, technology is bad.
Despite all good that the internet has done for us, there are many filmmakers who want to explore how social media can turn into horror with supernatural films based around the interwebs. Friend Request is on that list of movies collectively trying, but failing, to make Facebook terrifying.
The film revolves around popular student Laura who shares everything with her 800+ digital friends. However, after accepting a friend request from the weird girl, she soon finds herself stalked by the weirdo who wants nothing but to stop feeling lonely. When she declines the girl’s friendship, the young woman kills herself publically on Facebook. Soon after her friends start to die in ridiculous ways…Clearly, her Facebook is under a deadly spell. Welp.
To establish how much of a cheesy romp Friend Request is, all I have to tell you is that at one point, battered and bruised, our heroine wails “What do you want from me?” to the dark. That Jennifer Love Hewitt level of desperation and clichéd killer bait echoes throughout the movie, setting the right tone of hammy wailing and ridiculous deaths. This is not a good film. It’s full of numerous plot holes and a premise so ludicrous that you’d scoff countess amount of times throughout the film. There’s also this stupid running theme that our lead character Laura’s Facebook friends are dwindling. Like, the friendship count pops up to remind us that the number is dwindling which is an offensive side note because HER ACTUAL FLESH FRIENDS ARE BEING MURDERED IN FRONT OF HER. It is a chaotic mess of different plot points that don’t seem to slot into one another whilst simultaneously borrowing from every other goddamn ghost story ever. There are also some bad eye-contacts that make you horribly aware that this is all fake.
The only saving grace is lead actress Alycia Debnam-Carey (famed from The 100) who you actually have a nugget of care about even if she spends most of the time red-eyed and crying. Also William Moseley is great. Look, I’m going to say it, one of the great things about this film is realising that Pete Pevensie grew up smoking hot AND as a good actor. That’ll sit on your mind throughout.
Friend Request also followed the much superior and tense Unfriended (I really loved that film) which actually had a good reason for the ghost’s initial suicide and showcased how social media can blind us against bullying when posting humiliating footage or comments.
Nevertheless, when you are sat at home in your pyjamas surrounding by a butt-load of unhealthy snacks and some good friends, then Friend Request serves a purpose: Constant ridicule and some entertaining death scenes will satisfy you whilst shoving chocolate covered sugar into your mouth. A complete B-movie of a horror, that has moments of genuine creepiness, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear when the credit sequence rolls out.
You might even share a status update about it…
Friend Request is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now!