Review: Friend Request
Horror movie season is in full effect and we are seeing a number of great titles such as IT, Annabelle: Creation, Wish Upon, and more. A new film by the name of Friend Request has hit the silver screen and it is looking to spook viewers with techno horror. The main story is a popular girl at school, Laura, played by Alycia Debnam-Carey, adds a class mate by the name of Marina, played by Liesl Ahlers, on social media until she discovers her new friend has attachment issues. Unfortunately the two friends decide to part ways which leads to the class mate committing suicide, it is not long after that something sinister seeks to harm her and her friends.
The film uses quite a few jump scares in order to spark a reaction from the viewer which is a tried and true method to spook viewers. Beyond the jump scares, not much else in the film strikes terror in heart of movie goers. As far as creepiness goes, there are a few scenes or concepts that helped. For example in Friend Request, when a victim is being haunted they are placed in some sort of charm where they are unable to see reality and instead see otherworldly figures attempt to harm them. So although they are running around screaming for help and real people watch them and try to help, in the mind of the victim there is no one around and they fail to notice that they are taking their own life. Another is the concept of the black mirror where witches used black mirrors in order to communicate with spirits and demons. They say that the Marina’s black mirror was her laptop, which makes a bit of sense seeing as black glass is used for some electronic devices.
Admittedly, I was not a fan of techno horror. It is hard to imagine that spirits are able to possess advanced technology to the point of modifying lines of code. Had the electronic devices showed terrible images that would be one thing but to literally hack into the main character’s social media account to post videos and not let her delete the posts or her account was a stretch. Even more so was the customer support for the social media company who replied “Sorry, there is nothing we can do.” to the request to have them delete the account or content. They thought it was perfectly fine to allow videos of murder be displayed and when she complained that she was unable to delete her account they don’t event check the logs or anything. I might be looking too much into a simple horror film but these unrealistic events took the horror away from the situation.
As far as acting goes, the cast did well enough for the film without any one character being more appealing than the others. They all showed up and did an alright job in their respective roles. The funny guy cracked jokes, the handsome guy was handsome, the friend was there for the main character and so on. There was never a point in the film where I genuinely cared for anyone but seeing as it was a film about a witch murdering folks while haunting them with electronic devices I can’t say I am too surprised.
Another aspect of the film that I did appreciate were some of the visuals they displayed both on the social media accounts. In a unique art style they displayed various scenes of horror that was done in a way that looked like a ghastly children’s book. I was surprised they spent so much time on that aspect because it felt out of place and yet it was so good I wish we saw that story in that art style instead of the film we were presented.
Overall Friend Request is not a terrible film, it just isn’t fantastic compared to the likes of Annabelle, IT, and Wish Upon. I do recommend this film to horror buffs because it’ll give a few good scares but for the general public, your money would be better spent watching another film.