I admit, I was quite horrified - like, shaken to my very core - by Unfriended, a horror pic with a new gimmick that likely will spawn an entire subgenre of more substandard rubbish.
Unfriended unfolds entirely on a computer screen, the story and dialogue taking place among characters engaged in multiple acts of multiple-partner Skyping, Facebooking, and Googling.
Possibly the single most uncinematic device ever used in a film, the gimmick must have made the studio suits jump with joy. Talk about low overhead! I mean, they didn't even need a cinematographer.
The simpleton premise: It's exactly one year since teenage victim Laura Barns (Heather Sossaman) committed suicide. A well-liked, attractive high schooler, Laura shot herself shortly after someone leaked a compromising video.
The original vid has gone viral, as has a smartphone-captured snuff film that shows Laura blowing her brains out.
The film starts out with the snuff film - as viewed by one of the film's less-heinous teens, Blaire (Ouija's Shelley Hennig). It's her computer that gives us access to the story. The action heats up (but not really) when Blaire's beau, Mitch (newcomer Moses Jacob Storm), joins her on Skype, followed before long by three other pals, Jess (Renee Olstead from The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Adam (Will Peltz, In Time) and Ken (Jacob Wysocki, Pitch Perfect).
But wait, there's a sixth person online!
omg! it's laura o-:
Laura decides to punish the kids for leaking nasty truths and rumors about one another - to show them, I guess, that words can hurt real bad.
"Let's play a game," Laura IMs. "The loser dies."
So what did I find so scary about Unfriended?
It wasn't the cheap CGI ghosty visuals or the many blurry-fuzzy-video-feedback-obscured freakouts that grip the characters before they die horrible deaths. (Do ghosts somehow affect streaming-video buffering?)
No, I was shocked and disgusted by the bad grammar.
"Never have I ever," Laura writes, "started the rumor that Blaire has an eating disorder."
That's just gross, man.
Directed by Levan Gabriadze. With Heather Sossaman, Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Will Peltz. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.
Running time: 1 hour, 28 mins.
Parent's guide: R (violence, profanity, drugs, crimes against grammar).
Playing at: Area theaters.