Thursday, 7 May 2015

Unfriended (5 Stars)

Films like this are difficult for me to rate. Let me explain. When I give a film a rating from 1 to 5 I come to a decision by comparing it with other films of the same type. After all, I can't put a comedy, a sci-fi film and a thriller side by side and ask which one is the best. That wouldn't be fair. I have to make comparisons within the genre.

And then a film like "Unfriended" comes along that's so unlike anything that went before it that it's created a new genre. Some reviewers have called it a found footage film, but that's not the case. It's something completely new. There's no shaky camera or characters always off-screen, and rather than the footage being of a pseudo-documentary nature created in the past it's all happening in real-time before our eyes.

The film lasts 83 minutes, and it takes place between 9pm and 10:30pm. Six teenagers are chatting to one another on Skype. A seventh person enters the chat, using text only, who claims to be Laura Barns, a girl from their school who killed herself exactly one year ago. This person manages to terrify the teenagers so much that they commit suicide one by one.

What makes the film so unique isn't just that it takes place in real-time. That's been done before, for instance "Phone Booth". The film is different to anything that has gone before because it all happens on a computer screen. All we see is the screen of Blaire, one of the girls, as she uses Skype, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. This is the first film in the real-time computer screen genre. I've given it five stars because it's the best film of its type.

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