Friend Request Review
First came Unfriended now, this year, we have a new notification in the Social-Media Horror sub-genre, Friend Request.
Popular college student Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) has the ‘perfect’ life, tons of friends, an incredibly good looking boyfriend in Tyler (William Moseley) and future ambitions beyond University. She accepts a friend request from the mysterious loner, Marina (Liesl Ahlers) and shortly thereafter, Laura realises that she has made a grave mistake. Marina evolves from friend to a paranormal e-witch and once Laura attempts to distance herself from her cyber pal, she begins to lose friends and not just on social media.
Directed by German actor/director Simon Verhoeven, Friend Request takes the basic premise of cyber-bullying and modern day privacy interference (much like the aforementioned Unfriended), but falls short of its social-media-stalker competitor due to straying too far from its root into the paranormal storyline that so many modern horrors find safety in.
That's not to say that the film falls completely flat as many twists and scares can be found amongst its, at times, clunky dialogue and slightly stereotypical characters. It hits home with the technology-driven subculture of social media notifications and the modern dilemma of constantly being reachable by phone and always being logged on to a virtual space.
Ahlers’ Marina is an extremely clichéd antagonist and her awkward interactions with other characters feel tired along with the overused ‘emo’ aesthetic is extremely lacklustre and a little tedious. That aside, having a plethora of unlikeable supporting characters allowed for a great deal enjoyment once the stalking reached maximum level and they were picked off one by one by varying degrees of gruesome fashion.
If you are looking for a semi-interesting Horror that attempts to elaborate on the foundations set for it by its predecessor to varying degrees of success, then you may find thrills and scares in Friend Request.