Friday, 14 December 2018

Unfriended: Dark Web ★☆☆☆☆

In 2014, a horror film for the social media generation was released. Unfriended, directed by Levan Gabriadze, took place entirely on computer screens over Facebook and Skype chats and was actually a surprisingly effective little shocker. I’m not saying it was a good film particularly, but it worked – especially for this current generation of Skypers. We’ve now had so many films released that take place on computer screens – this year’s Searching and Profile for example – so Unfriended’s sequel, Dark Web, has kind of come a little too late.

This stand-alone film has no narrative ties whatsoever to the first film, and so isn’t “Unfriended 2”, but rather comes under the “Unfriended” banner in a way that suggests this could be a whole anthology of films. God, let’s hope not. The film follows a young man who finds a laptop and goes online to Skype with his friends. He soon finds a mysterious folder on this laptop with disturbing videos of people in danger. An anonymous stranger soon joins in their chat and tells them that if they disconnect or alert the authorities, they will be killed. What follows is 90-minutes of pretty predictable jump scares and cliché horror traits. This is very much a cookie-cutter shocker, with very little by way of actual shocks. 

Honestly, a film like Unfriended: Dark Web is absolutely a case of the style and delivery being the USP. But in 2018, this style is no longer fresh. Look at Paranormal Activity. A great film due to being one of the pioneers of the found-footage genre. Flash forward 5 years and the amount of films in the subgenre was staggering. Computer screen films are going the same way, and the later ones just became dreadful as they had no selling point to fall back on. And so, Unfriended: Dark Web has fallen into this trap. There is absolutely nothing here beyond the fact that it takes place on a computer screen, and with that approach itself being so tired, there is little to recommend here. 

That being said, it was refreshing for this film to be a little less supernatural than the first film. I find horror to be far more effective when dealing with the dark side of human nature, rather than ghosts and spooky scary skeletons. Here, we focus on the Dark Web and the nutters that exist within it. The first film dealt with the ghost of a bullied girl haunting a group of people, but here, it is a nutter they’re dealing with – and that’s something that we can all fear.

But on the whole, Unfriended: Dark Web is a very tired and unoriginal 90 minutes of cliché filled with poor writing and acting. We’ve all seen this before. This ‘sequel’ doesn’t do anything beyond what the first film did and exists purely as a lesser version of it. Don’t click on Unfriended: Dark Web. 


Sam Love
Unfriended: Dark Web  at CeX

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