Starring Alycia Debnam-Carey, William Moseley, Connor Paolo, Brit Morgan, Brooke Markham, Liesl Ahlers
Friend Request isn’t going to benefit from It at the top of the American box office. Here we have a clear comparison of two films within the same genre, where one is an ambitious project and the other is filmed on a dime in hopes of tricking movie goers into the theater. Friend Request is simply another cheap jump-scares film with no creativity in the script or on screen. This one centers around the modern culture’s obsession with social media, in particular Facebook, although the company’s name is never actually used in the movie. “Evil is trending” is the tag line, which hints at the cheese you’re in for.
Laura (Carey) and best friend Oliva (Morgan) are appropriately taking a psychology class which is currently exploring internet addiction disorder. Sympathetic Laura befriends gothic social reject Marina (Ahlers) who also has no online friends. This backfires on Laura when Marina begins posting endless stuff on her page and becomes obsessed in spending time together. Eventually Laura is forced to unfriend the girl, which results in suicide. The campus is shocked, and when Marina’s suicide video appears on Laura’s social media page, she is suspended, and investigated. Unable to delete the video or her profile, Laura needs the help of her friends who also begin receiving weird messages from a girl that’s supposedly dead.
Thankfully it’s a short movie, and that’s about the biggest complement I can give.
This is a horror movie, suspension of reality is expected. I can deal with some demon girl dealing in black magic haunting people who shunned her from the grave. What I refuse to accept is “unknown error” every time they try to delete a death video posted on their page. Even worse is the scene when Laura calls Facebook, and they say they can’t help her. Now, we have all dealt with censorship via Facebook or Instagram, do you really expect us to believe that a company, this specific one, would allow a suicide video to stay on a user’s page? That’s where I had to check out and draw the line with Friend Request. You can’t ask us to believe on one hand, this is Facebook, the way is works and functions as we know it. Then on the other hand, break all of the long-standing Facebook rules as it that was remotely plausible. Demon computer code writing anyone? Suspension of disbelief can only go so far.
The acting is low quality across the board. The script throws a bunch of unrecognizable actors in here so they can pick them off one by one in stereotypical horror movie fashion. “You really know a lot of dead people Ms. Woodson,” one cop investigating Laura says. The lack of intelligence and character development (as usual), means we don’t care what happens to these people, they get their throat cut, and we check our watch to see how much longer we must wait for the credits. There brief explanations about black mirrors, a cult and witchery never really inform us what’s going on. Thankfully it’s a short movie, and that’s about the biggest complement I can give.
You’ll want to block and report this genre misfire.