Bravo to writer/director Stephen Susco (first film as a director, writer of horror films like The Grudge, Texas Chainsaw 3D) for successfully making a film in which 90% of it happens on computer screens. Sounds like a dull time at the theatre, no? Watching a bunch of 20-somethings talk to each other via Skype for 93 minutes sounds as interesting as watching paint dry. And yet it is interesting. More than interesting actually. Unfriended: Dark Web is tension-filled and also quite funny at times. I most certainly wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did.
Another product from the Blumhouse stable (Truth or Dare, Get Out, The Purge, Paranormal Activity, etc.) of horror films, this is related to the first Unfriended film, which was more concerned with a supernatural scare, only in the fact that it has to do with computers. Yes, computers, something in today’s day and age that everyone of every age uses. Plenty. If we are not on our computers we are on tablets and if we are not on that electronic device then there is always our cell phones. What a film like this shows us is that while we are on or around these devices we are never alone or safe.
A Skype evening between six pals playing Cards Against Humanity turns deadly. How is that possible you ask? Well, the lesson to be learned here is that you should not swipe a laptop from a coffee shop’s lost and found. Don’t do it, people! Because Matias (Colin Woodell – Unsane) has done this it places his girlfriend Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras – from television’s Switched at Birth) and friends, Nari (Betty Gabriel – Get Out, The Purge: Election Year), Kelly (Chelsea Alden – from television’s 13 Reasons Why), Damon (Andrew Lees – from television’s The Originals), AJ (Connor Del Rio – appeared in episodes of Chicago P.D., Key and Peele), and Lexx (Savira Windyani – Ink & Rain) all in mortal danger.
That is because the laptop belonged to someone who was deep into the Dark Web and it ain’t no surprise that they want it back. Everyone’s life hangs in the balance.
We all know that social media and the Internet can be evil places. This film really rams that home. Writer/director Susco knows that most of us use computers extensively, but don’t really know that much about them. Meaning most of us don’t know much about the Dark Web or how it works exactly. This is a rather enjoyable geek film.
Using that lack of knowledge allows for tension to mount and plenty of scary moments to be sprung upon the audience. Everything that we are worried about concerning the Internet is there. That hackers can easily gain access to anyone’s electronic devices is rammed home time and time again. He has executed this in a rather ingenious way. In a way we have all been a part of and that causes the paranoia and fear to mount. Quickly. Sitting there we begin to realize how easy it is for someone who wants to to gain access to all our information. All the personal stuff we might not want others to see/find.
All the actors here have a lot of fun despite the fact that they are rather constricted as they are just acting to a computer screen most or all of the time. With all the odd angles and unflattering shots it makes their characters all the more likeable. They all sell their feelings of fear, paranoia, panic, and horror to the point where you are almost totally fatigued for them.
Guaranteed that after seeing this film there will be plenty of people who put tape over the camera on their laptops.