Monday, September 25, 2017

Movie Review: "Friend Request" (2017)

Director: Simon Verhoeven
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

A popular college student named Laura befriends an introverted loner named Marina on social media. When Marina's actions start to border on obsessive stalker levels, Laura unfriends her, which causes Marina to kill herself. From that point on, Laura's social media is overtaken and her friends start getting killed off one by one. Now, she must find a way to stop the madness.

Oh look, a horror movie that talks about the dangers of being addicted to social media. Or maybe it's a warning to those who try to be kind to creepy loner goth looking kids. Everyone knows goth looking loners are meant to be shunned and ostracized by society because they are really practitioners of witchcraft who will try to murder you with their hieroglyphic code language if you ever dare unfriend them on Facebook!!!!~`11

"Friend Request" is directed by Simon Verhoeven. This is his first foray into the horror genre and he brings every cliche and genre trope with him. The film stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Laura, a University psych major who takes pity on the weird hoodie-wearing outcast in her psychology class named Marina, played by Liesl Ahlers. Laura accepts Marina's friend request on Facebook-but-never-once-called-Facebook (they couldn't use Facebook's actual name because they didn't want it to be attached to this shitty movie) because she pities Marina for having no friends. After a quick in-person talk, Marina becomes a bit too stalkerish for Laura's liking and she unfriends Marina just as fast as she friended her. This sends Marina off the deep end and she films herself committing suicide. From that point on, Laura's life becomes a social media hell as disturbing videos start popping up all over her timeline, ones she didn't post in the first place and that she can't take down. She can't even delete her account... oh, the horror!!

Lately, filmmakers have been trying to find a way to integrate our modern technological age into the horror genre. We've seen this with movies like the surprisingly good "Unfriended," the good until it wasn't "The Den," and more recently, the shit-tacular "Rings." We thought "Rings" was about as bad as it could get in the genre, but "Friend Request" (not to be confused with the aforementioned "Unfriended"), certainly gives it the ol' college try.

First off, the acting in this movie is really bad. We never expect award-worthy performances from movies like this, but much of what we get here is barely even competent. Next, it is overloaded with cheap tropes. When we say overloaded, we mean it: it's full of jump scares, stupid cops and authority figures, the least understanding set of friends possible, etc. It seems like it borrows bits and pieces from other horror films, including creepy videos and themes of witchcraft, and the filmmaker and writer think they are doing something clever and original by tacking it onto a plot involving social media. Let us tell you, it offers nothing new and contributes nothing original. It's like the writers were sitting at home watching the television series "Black Mirror" and then suddenly realized that, when turned off, their smartphones and laptops kind of look like black mirrors, so they wrote a whole movie based on that concept. ~*OoOoOoOoOoOoOo so revolutionary.~* The story is completely and utterly stupid, bloated with cliche plot points and contrived moments. This movie is so ridiculous we found ourselves rolling our eyes to the point that we started to get dizzy. The only redeemable quality it has is its R-rating, which shows its potential every so often and allows for a little bit of gore, decent makeup work, and a couple of disturbing. These two or three moments, however, are not enough to make up for the seemingly endless pile of dung "Friend Request" throws at the audience for 92 minutes. This movie is not worth your time and it's definitely not worth your money.
My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~12%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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